UFC pondering interim middleweight champion due to Michael Bisping knee injury

The UFC is considering crowning an interim middleweight champion this summer, should official titleholder Michael Bisping be unavailable to defend his belt.

UFC president Dana White told ESPN that his ideal scenario is a summer fight between Bisping (30-7) and No. 1 contender Yoel Romero (12-1).

Earlier this week, however, Bisping revealed that he is dealing with a knee injury and will not be ready to defend his title "anytime soon." White said that could force the UFC to create an interim title.

"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, 40, is on an eight-fight win streak. Whittaker (18-4), of Australia, has won seven in a row, including a recent knockout finish over Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza.

The UFC had originally announced that Bisping's next title defense would be against former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Those plans were scrapped when St-Pierre said he wouldn't be able to fight until November. The Canadian star hasn't fought since 2013.

Both St-Pierre and Bisping have continued to express interest in that matchup publicly, despite White saying the promotion has moved on. Since he won the belt in June, Bisping has made one successful title defense, over Dan Henderson in October.

According to White, St-Pierre's return will now likely come in the 170-pound division -- the weight class St-Pierre dominated throughout his career. Tyron Woodley (17-3-1) is the current UFC welterweight champion.

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