Late Thursday night the UFC announced that Georges St-Pierre had vacated his middleweight title due to health reasons. A division that looked to be gaining stability after GSP-Bisping at UFC 217, is now again in flux. It’s been reported that a championship fight will take place at UFC 221 after a seemingly stacked 220 card in Boston.
UFC 220 holds two title fights at the top of it’s card, Cormier-Oezdemir and Miocic-Ngannou. The latter fight seems to be a heavyweight battle for the ages. UFC 221 is slated to take place in Perth, Australia. The card will have Australian Robert Whittaker in a main event fight against fromer champion Luke Rockhold.
Whittaker is the division’s interim champion, and Rockhold is an ex-champion after losing to Michael Bisping at UFC 199. This should certainly be a high profile follow-up to the utterly stacked 220 card. Two proven champion caliber fighters will meet in the middle of the octagon, and I certainly expect fireworks.
Whittaker has been on a hell of a tear since moving up to middleweight in 2014, boasting a seven-fight win streak. His most recent win came over Yoel Romero for the interim championship while former champ Michael Bisping was out with a knee injury. This fight will produce a new champion and eliminate the need for an interim belt.
Rockhold has rose up the middleweight charts. After a four-fight win streak, he won his first championship via TKO in the fourth round against Chris Weidman. In his next fight, Bisping finished Rockhold early in what is largely regarded as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
One of these fighters will be at the top of food chain after UFC 221, in what should be an exciting fight. I’m interested to see how the rest of the middleweight division reacts to GSP possibly not fighting again. I wonder who will step up and bring the future of the division to the forefront. I’m going with Whitaker walking out of the cage with a belt.