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Just over a month after making a triumphant, title winning return to the octagon, Georges St-Pierre has had to vacate his newly won UFC Middleweight title.
GSP stepped back inside the octagon on 4th November to main event UFC 217 against Michael Bisping, defeating the British fighter via submission in the third round, winning the Middleweight title on his debut in the division.
However, the Canadian icon has had to hand the belt back over after a bout of ulcerative colitis caused him to vacate the championship, just a month after he won it.
Georges St-Pierre is no longer the middleweight champion of the UFC, sources say. Whittaker-Rockhold is for the real belt at 221.- Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 8, 2017
St-Pierre decided to vacate the title after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. He informed the UFC of his decision a couple of days ago. That's why they moved to book Whittaker-Rockhold, which we reported earlier.- Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 8, 2017
Speaking in a statement which was shared by the UFC, St-Pierre said, "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."
Following the decision, Robert Whittaker has been named undisputed champion of the middleweight division after beating Yoel Romero by unanimous decision for the interim title in July.
Whittaker's first defence of his new title will come at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia on 11th February, when he defends against former champion Luke Rockhold, who Michael Bisping originally beat for the belt at UFC 199 in June of last year.
Speaking to TSN in Canada, GSP believes his transition from welterweight to middleweight is what caused his illness.
"After the fight, I thought first it was the stress that caused it and it would go away, but it did not go away.
"So what happened is even after the fight it persisted and I knew something was wrong so I let a few days pass by and after that I went to see a specialist. And I've been diagnosed with colitis, ulcer colitis, but now I have the medication and since I started medication it goes very well. So I'm almost 100-percent now.
"I feel much better now than before and also it's a lot less blood so it's good. It was a more scary and stressful situation for me than the actual reality.
"There's different levels of colitis, I don't think mine is very severe. Some people are stuck in a situation where it's more severe and it can affect their well-being much more, but mine is not that bad."
Let's hope GSP makes a full recovery and we can see him back in the octagon sometime soon.
(H/T MMA Fighting)
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