Georges St-Pierre is no longer the UFC middleweight champion.
On Thursday, St-Pierre officially surrendered his title to focus on his health after being diagnosed with colitis just recently and the UFC will move forward with Robert Whittaker being crowned undisputed champion with his first title defense taking place against Luke Rockhold on Feb. 10 in the main event at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia.
UFC officials confirmed the news on Thursday.
“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,” St-Pierre said about giving up the middleweight title just a month after defeating Michael Bisping to become champion. “Out of respect to the athletes and the sport, I don’t want to hold up the division.
When St-Pierre defeated Bisping at UFC 217, he stated numerous times that it was contractually obligated that he defend the belt but health issues have put him on the sidelines for an undetermined amount of time.
With St-Pierre out and his middleweight title vacated, Whittaker will now be crowned undisputed champion after he defeated Yoel Romero back in July to determine an interim champion at the time.
Whittaker will defend the belt against former champion Luke Rockhold as the new headliner for the UFC’s return to Australia in February. Rockhold picked up a win back in September when he defeated David Branch by second round submission due to punches.
Now Rockhold will get a second shot at the UFC title when he faces Whittaker in February.