Image: Esther Lin
Less than a month after winning the UFC middleweight title in dramatic fashion, Georges St-Pierre is dropping that title in not-so-dramatic fashion.
Due to a condition known as ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease), St-Pierre dropped the belt officially Thursday night, saying in a statement that he was going to have to take some considerable time off, adding that he didn’t want to hold up the division.
“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.”
That means Robert Whittaker gets the ‘interim’ removed from his middleweight title reign and now becomes the official champion — on paper anyway. He’s been injured since defeating Yoel Romero for the interim title and will look to defend the official gold for the first time against former champion Luke Rockhold at February’s UFC 221 in his home country of Australia.
St-Pierre returned after a four year layoff to submit Michael Bisping for the middleweight title in November at Madison Square Garden. He had been a dominant welterweight champion before taking time off after a controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks at the promotion’s 20th anniversary show. There was some question as to whether GSP would remain in the middleweight division as he was non-commital after the Bisping win.