Newly crowned UFC middleweight champion refused to commit to defending that belt on a Thursday conference call.
“I don’t have an intention of making the [middleweights] lose their time,” St. Pierre explained. “I’m going to go on vacation and talk about it. My contract says I have to fight Robert Whittaker. But a lot of things happen in MMA. Things change all the time.”
St. Pierre choked out Michael Bisping after a four-year absence from the octagon to gain the UFC middleweight title on Saturday evening. “It was a ‘B,’” he said of his performance. “It was okay.”
The victory made the Canadian one of four competitors winning championships in the promotion in multiple weight classes. The 26-2 St. Pierre, who owns wins over Matt Hughes, B.J. Penn, Nick Diaz, Sean Sherk, and Johny Hendricks, ranks as the sport’s greatest welterweight and in the conversation for the greatest pound-for-pound mixed-martial artist in the short history of the sport.
Potential fights against Conor McGregor, Tyron Woodley, and Anderson Silva create a buzz. But St. Pierre insists that his contract limits his choices to one.
“If I want to fight again, it has to be Robert Whittaker at 185,” St. Pierre explained. “That’s in my contract.”
St. Pierre plans to decompress on vacation, and heal from a spine injury that left him struggling to tie his shoes after the Bisping bout, before addressing his future. A fight against Whittaker helps the middleweight division. But bouts against McGregor or Silva help St. Pierre’s bank account more.
Though the 36-year-old did not dismiss the notion of retirement, he repeatedly described his psychology and passion for the sport as much improved from 2013. “When I left the sport four years ago, I was in a bad place mentally,” he divulged. “I was having fun Saturday.”
“There’s going to be news about it in the next few weeks,” St. Pierre says of his next move. “I do not plan to hold the title and not defend it.”