Just over a month after beating Michael Bisping via third-round submission at UFC 217 in New York City, Georges St. Pierre has vacated his 185-pound title.
The UFC confirmed the news earlier tonight (Dec. 7, 2017), while also providing a statement from 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,” St. Pierre said. “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.”
Prior to UFC 217, St. Pierre, a man many consider to be the very best welterweight of all-time, hadn’t competed since UFC 167 in 2013, electing to go on a four-year hiatus after scoring a highly controversial split-decision victory over Johny Hendricks.
When it was announced that he would be competing for the middleweight title, “Rush” said that it was stated in his contract that he must defend the title if he were to win. Many, however, were skeptical of that. It was also recently announced that the Canadian was dealing with a case of colitis, which, in addition to the difficulty of making 185 pounds, likely played a factor in his decision.
It’s currently unclear when and if St. Pierre will return to the Octagon.