UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping has revealed he will fight Yoel Romero if Georges St-Pierre is not ready to face him in July.
The Bisping-St-Pierre bout was announced earlier this month by UFC president Dana White, albeit with no confirmation of date or venue.
Having said July 8 was the date he had discussed with White, Bisping, during a recent episode on his podcast, indicated that St-Pierre would not be ready.
St-Pierre, who was tempted out of retirement by the prospect of a lucrative clash with the Mancunian, reportedly wants the match-up to take place in September, but Bisping has made it clear he will not wait around if negotiations stall.
“Long story short, it looks like GSP is trying to push for a later date,” the Englishman said.
“I heard that they wanted September/October and that’s what the UFC told me as well. But I’m just throwing it out there right now. If he wants to wait until September or October, then he can go find himself another opponent, buddy. I’m the champion and I’m not willing to sit around until September or October.
“July 8, Las Vegas, International Fight Week is the date and the event that we are targeting. But Dana wouldn’t confirm the date at the press conference. But then I saw Dana a couple of weeks later and Dana said, ‘Yeah we’re still hoping for July 8’.
“This fight was discussed in January. A fight camp only takes eight weeks or six weeks. Fighting in September or October is ridiculous. July 8 is the date. I will be a little bit flexible and maybe go past that a little bit, but I want to fight at International Fight Week, July 8. So Georges St-Pierre, get it together.
“Come on, sign the paperwork. You want it. You sat there at the press conference. You talked big. You sounded confident, so sign the God damn paperwork. It’s as simple as that.”
Romero earned a title shot following a third-round knockout of Chris Weidman at UFC 205 last November, only for the mixed martial arts promotion to bypass him in favour of St-Pierre, who has never fought at middleweight, but is UFC’s longest-reigning welterweight champion having defended the belt nine times from 2008-2013.
If the highly anticipated fight against St-Pierre falls through, Bisping would be willing to defend his belt against 39-year-old Cuban Romero.
“If he’s not ready then I guess Yoel Romero gets his title shot,” the 38-year-old said.
“Listen, I’m not afraid of Yoel Romero. If GSP wants to fight, of course, there’s a great story there. But I’m not willing to sit around and he doesn’t get to call the shots.”