NZ-born mixed martial arts star Robert Whittaker will have to wait a little longer for his big payday and a shot at the world middleweight title.

Whittaker, 26, consolidated his rapid rise through the division with a unanimous decision victory over Cuban Yoel Romero in Las Vegas this month, earning the interim title, with champion Michael Bisping sidelined by injury.

Bisping, who attended the fight, immediately invited Whittaker to challenge for the real belt and seemed to confirm that the Sydney-based fighter would be his next opponent.

But after the latest round of the UFC circuit, president Dana White announced Englishman Bisping would fight Georges St-Pierre next, a match-up that was cancelled earlier this year.


St-Pierre, a former welterweight champion, was initially expected to face the winner of yesterday's Tyron Woodley v Demian Maia showdown for the lighter crown, but Woodley was so unconvincing in victory, White changed his mind.

"You ask fans if they want to see Woodley fight again," said White. "I think that would be flat out 'no'.

"He is an absolute physical specimen. The guy could have finished that fight as any time he wanted to, but he didn't want to take the risks.

"You take no risks, you get no rewards."

Whittaker aggravated a knee injury during his defeat of Romero and is having to take an extended break to recover.