St-Pierre vacates belt, Whittaker-Rockhold on for middleweight titlesports theScore — Mitch Sanderson
Georges St-Pierre has vacated his middleweight title, which will now be fought for at UFC 221 on Feb. 10 between former interim titleholder Robert Whittaker and challenger Luke Rockhold, the UFC announced Thursday. Whittaker has been elevated to undisputed champion.
St-Pierre admitted Wednesday he did not believe he would fight again at middleweight as he felt his recent colitis diagnosis was brought on by overeating during preparation for his first 185-pound bout in November. St-Pierre is out indefinitely with the ailment, though he is expected to compete at his original weight of 170 pounds once he is healthy.
"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," said St-Pierre in a statement from the UFC. "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.”
Whittaker and Rockhold are reported as the expected headliners for the February card which will take place in Perth, Australia. Whittaker (19-4) is the UFC's first Australian champion.
Rockhold (16-3) has won just one fight since losing the middleweight title to Michael Bisping via first-round knockout in June 2016 - his first title defense.
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