Michael Bisping’s super-fight with legendary fighter George St Pierre will headline one of the biggest MMA cards of the year at UFC 217 this weekend.
The ‘Count’, the organisation’s first ever British king, will defend his Middleweight championship belt for a second time against the Canadian superstar at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.
The challenger, a former two-time world champion at welterweight, returns after a four-year hiatus and will have his work cut out, with a considerable climb in weight.
Meanwhile, the champion, from Clitheroe, dethroned Luke Rockhold and saw off Anderson Silva amid a five-fight winning stretch, and added a unanimous decision victory to avenge his loss to Dan Henderson just over a year ago.
With both fighters having amassed 20 career victories, Bisping, who fought his first 15 professional fights at light heavyweight, said: “He’s fought a lot of the same people over that period. He’s fought them multiple times.
“And if you go through the opponents - BJ Penn, who he fought twice or three times, he’s a featherweight, right? Look at Johny Hendricks these days...But still.
“Nick Diaz is a welterweight. Carlos Condit, that’s a good win. Josh Koscheck, Dan Hardy, Thiago Alves - lightweight. BJ Penn - featherweight. Matt Serra - lightweight. These are all smaller guys. He always had that strength and size advantage.
“He’ll probably be stronger than me in this fight, I don’t doubt it. Because he lifts a lot of weights and he’s doing his amino acids every morning and this and that. He’s a real athlete. But I’m a bigger natural guy and he’s not gonna have that advantage. So yeah, he’s great and he’s beaten a lot of competition. But he’s had competition that has been suited toward him size-wise and skill-wise. This is a different matter.”