Georges St Pierre vacates the UFC Middleweight title, Whittaker vs. Rockhold set for UFC 221

Less than two months after winning the UFC Middleweight championship, legendary Canadian Georges St-Pierre has vacated the coveted title.

Very little was known after the man dubbed “GSP” defeated Michael Bisping for the UFC Middleweight title at UFC 217. The man was not known for competing at 185 and despite his success, very few were certain that he would continue to compete in this new weight class.

The UFC released a statement sent by St-Pierre:

“My fight at UFC 217 was one of the greatest nights of my life but I now need to take some time to focus on my health. Out of respect to the athletes and the sport, I don’t want to hold up the division. I will be giving up my belt and once I’m healthy I look forward to working with the UFC to determine what’s next in my career.”

Last week, St-Pierre was reportedly diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. That diagnosis likely led to his decision to vacate the belt. It had been reported earlier in the week by that he informed the UFC that he would be vacating the title earlier this week.

The decision to delay the announcement likely came from the time needed to sign their next Middleweight championship bout as Interim champion Robert Whittaker, now the undisputed champion, will now defend his title for the first time against former champion Luke Rockhold in the main event at UFC 221 in Perth, Western Australia.

Whitaker (19-4, 10-2 in UFC) most recently won the Interim Middleweight belt at UFC 213 against Yoel Romero in a five-round closely contested affair. Whittaker is 7-0 since making the jump up from Welterweight back in 2014.

Rockhold (16-3, 6-2 in UFC) recently came back from a 15-month hiatus after losing his championship to Michael Bisping, to take on and defeat former WSOF Middleweight and Light Heavyweight champion David Branch back in September.

UFC 221 takes place at the Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia on Feb 11.

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Nick Peralta

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