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Just 34 days after winning the UFC Middleweight title from Michael Bisping at UFC 217 in New York City, George St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) has vacated the championship, citing uncertainty about his fighting future after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

The UFC promptly scheduled a middleweight title fight Feb. 10 in Perth, Australia, between newly named champion Robert Whittaker of Australia and former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.

St-Pierre informed the organization, “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 for 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.”


With this announcement, interim champion Whitaker has been elevated to undisputed champion, and subject to approval from the Combat Sports Commission in Western Australia, the five-round bout will be the first event in Western Australia and held at Perth Arena.

Despite GSP’s star power, the middleweight division doesn’t need him. Plus, the move opens up big-money options for him to return to welterweight in 2018 and possibly chase the 170-pound title he gave up upon retiring in 2013.
With time to heal up, GSP could possibly put himself in line for a big payday with either welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and, of course, lightweight superstar Conor McGregor.