St-Pierre, whose last fight was at UFC 167 on November 16, 2013, is excited to compete in NYC, a place he fondly refers to as a home away from home.
“It’s always the same rules, the same cage wherever you are in the world, but for sure, New York is like a mythical place,” said St-Pierre, who hails from Quebec, Canada. “The sport has been legalized in New York not a long time ago. I’ve always wanted to fight in New York. For me, it’s like my [home] because I go there every month for training, so I feel like I’m home a little bit. Fighting at home is always special. It’s a great moment for me.”
There had been much debate and conversation about when and where St-Pierre (25–2–0) and Bisping (31–7–0) would finally meet since GSP’s return. UFC president Dana White wanted to schedule the bout sooner rather than later, but St-Pierre was unable to compete before November because of an eye injury.
“I don’t really have something to prove,” St-Pierre said. “I do it because I want to live my life to the fullest. Why wouldn’t I want to come back fighting Michael Bisping for the title in Madison Square Garden? I would be a fool to not take this opportunity.”
St-Pierre isn’t the only fighter looking forward to the bright lights of the Big Apple. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the reigning women’s strawweight champion, is happy the UFC has returned to New York City following UFC 205 on November 12, 2016. That was the first UFC event in NYC after the longtime ban on mixed martial arts in the city was revoked in March.
“It’s an amazing place, it’s like the mecca of martial arts,” said Jedrzejczyk, who defended her title with a unanimous decision against Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 205. ” I’m very happy that UFC is back at the Garden and New York City. There is a very big Polish community in New York and New York City so I’m very happy to put on such a great fight for my Polish fans, but for my fans all over the world.”
Like the first-ever UFC event held in the city, UFC 217 will feature local and regional fighters on the card. Randy Brown (9–2–0), fighting out of Queens, goes up against Mickey Gall (4–0–0) out of Greenbrook, N.J., in a welterweight bout. Light heavyweight Corey Anderson (10–3–0) is fighting out of Robbinsville, N.J.