UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has said returning mixed martial arts superstar Georges St-Pierre won't fight him because he "doesn't want to come in and take the concussion."
Speaking to TMZ regarding the prospect of fighting St-Pierre in what would be his first fight since November 2013, Woodley insisted the Canadian "doesn't want" the brand of punishment he would unleash:
St-Pierre will have been absent from the Octagon for four years come November, and MMA Fighting reporter Ariel Helwani recently suggested he'll celebrate the anniversary with a return against Bisping after all:
Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani
Confirmed with sources that Bisping vs GSP has been agreed to for MSG on 11/4. Should be signed in the coming days.2017-7-30 08:17:23
That news came after Woodley, 35, called out GSP in the wake of his third successful defence of the UFC welterweight title at UFC 214 on Saturday, beating Demian Maia via unanimous decision.
White said in a press conference days prior to UFC 214 that the winner of Woodley's meeting against Maia was still planned to take on GSP next: "That's the plan as of right now, whoever wins this fight fights GSP. But GSP's people are here today to speak to me, so we'll see what happens. We'll see how this goes. That is the plan as of the last time I talked to him."
Contrast that with White's mood after Saturday's duel, in which Woodley and Maia broke the record for fewest punches thrown in a five-round UFC title fight, per MMA Fighting's Danny Segura, and the mood has changed.
Helwani provided more quotes from White after UFC 214, where he disclosed it was during the fifth round of Saturday's welterweight title fight that he chose to scrap the idea and resurrect the Bisping bout: "That ship turned around and sailed the f--k back" (link contains profanity).
Woodley hasn't recorded a finish in any of the three fights he's had as champion, his last being the knockout victory over Robbie Lawler to take the belt at UFC 201 in July 2016.
Saturday's bout against Maia drew criticism and boos from the crowd for lacking in striking and overall action, similar to his majority draw against Stephen Thompson in November 2016.
But Woodley has sensed some hypocrisy in those who have criticised some of his recent fights but may still call for the return of St-Pierre, a fighter with a reputation for winning on points toward the end of his career:
"Think about George. George took three years out from the sport and now he's coming back as the G.O.A.T. (Great Of All Time), right? And he's coming back for this super fight, and everybody's saying 'Fight George, fight George, fight George.'
"Remember when George left? Remember how they said he was boring, how he was laying on guys, how he was controlling, how he hasn't had a finish in X amount of time. Remember how negative they were about George? People have a short-term memory."
Bisping recently appeared as a host on Fox Sports show UFC Tonight and, without confirming his own date against St-Pierre, laughed off the prospect of what he saw as a boring fixture between Woodley and GSP:
FOX Sports: UFC @UFCONFOX
Welp. @bisping addresses the possibility of a GSP/Woodley fight vs. him fighting GSP. Comedy ensues. #UFC214 https://t.co/XN06d2Sbtm2017-7-30 06:15:03
It's true the UFC may not favour Woodley as an opponent for GSP in his comeback bout, where they will want to ensure a certain amount of action given the Canadian's return undoubtedly has a timer attached to it.
Five of Woodley's UFC victories have come via stoppage, but the incumbent welterweight king may have a job on his hands convincing the organisation he's the right opponent to face St-Pierre.