Dana White: UFC Considering Romero-Whittaker Interim Title Bout Due to Bisping Knee Issues

By Tristen Critchfield May 19, 2017

Another UFC interim title could be up for grabs in the near future.

In an interview with ESPN.com, UFC President Dana White said that the promotion is considering booking Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker for the interim 185-pound strap in light of reigning champion Michael Bisping’s recent revelation that his knee is taking longer than expected to heal.

"We're trying to put together that Bisping-Romero fight," White said. "If [Bisping] can't fight this summer, we'll probably create an interim title between Romero and Robert Whittaker.”

Romero and Whittaker are currently two of the top three ranked middleweights in the promotion, according to UFC.com. Romero has won eight fights in a row and last appeared at UFC 205, where he knocked out ex-champ Chris Weidman with a flying knee in the third round. Whittaker earned a signature triumph over Ronaldo Souza in his last outing at UFC on Fox 24 and has won seven straight contests.

In March, the UFC announced that Bisping would defend his belt against the returning Georges St. Pierre at a date to be determined, although White optimistically targeted UFC 213 in July. However, after St. PIerre said he would be ready to fight Bisping anytime after October, White announced the fight was off and revealed that “The Count” would instead make his next title defense against Romero.

Meanwhile, Bisping claimed that he still wanted the St. Pierre fight and had not been informed of the cancellation. However, Bisping’s knee has been slow to heal after the fighter underwent what was supposed to be a minor surgery earlier this year.

“It’s [the delay] a blessing in disguise because I can’t fight anytime soon. I can’t exercise, I can’t train. My knee is giving me many, many problems,” Bisping said on his “Believe You Me” podcast. “It was doing it in Thailand, it’s still getting no better. . . So long story short, what I’m getting at is I’m not going to be ready to fight anytime soon so again, that’s another reason why this plays into the perfect scenario for me.”

White says that the promotion has moved on from Bisping vs. St. Pierre and now there appear to be different plans for the former welterweight king when he is ready to fight again.

"[St-Pierre] says he will fight whoever the 170-pound champion is when he comes back," White told ESPN.

Current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley does not currently have a fight scheduled but he is expected to make his next defense against Demian Maia. Maia won his seventh 170-pound bout in a row when he earned a split-decision triumph over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 last weekend.


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