UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping is out of action until later this year as he deals with a knee injury.
Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero will battle for the interim middleweight title at UFC 213, a title that Bisping refers to as a participation award.
“That doesn’t mean they’re fighting for my title,” Bisping said on UFC Tonight. “Nobody’s fighting for my title right now. Let’s just make this clear: Romero and Whittaker are fighting, and one of them gets a participation award. That’s all it is.”
Bisping was set to defend his title against former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, but UFC President Dana White recently canceled the fight.
The British import does understand why the UFC is creating the interim belt, but he still doesn’t think it’s the right move.
“I’m not necessarily sure it was the right move, or even the essential move to make. … But the UFC has to do what they have to do. I understand that,” Bisping said. “There are a lot of people in the middleweight division that are complaining, especially when I was supposed to fight GSP, that the division wasn’t moving along. Now I’ve got an injury; it’s taken longer than expected for my return. Yes, I think it’s a little premature. But as I said, the UFC has got to do what they’ve got to do. And in my mind this just certainly (will define) the next No. 1 contender.”
When Bisping does eventually return to the Octagon, its going to be his first fight since defeating Dan Henderson at UFC 204.