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Georges St-Pierre vacates UFC middleweight title… just one month after winning it

UFC superstar Georges St-Pierre has vacated the middleweight title.

The Canadian dramatically returned to the octagon after a four-year hiatus at UFC 217 in New York and submitted Michael Bisping to capture the undisputed UFC middleweight championship of the world.

But on Thursday, just 33 days after winning the belt, ‘GSP’ relinquished it.

St-Pierre revealed this week that he has ulcerative colitis, a condition that will rule him out of action for an unspecified period of time.

Just after capturing the title, St-Pierre revealed he had no intention of holding up the UFC’s middleweight division, telling reporters: “There’s going to be news about it in the next few weeks, but I don’t plan to hold the title and not defend it.”

The Canadian has stayed true to his word and, following the announcement of his illness, officially vacated the UFC title with immediate effect.

In a statement issued to the UFC, St-Pierre explained his decision, saying: “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.”

It’s the second time St-Pierre has voluntarily relinquished a UFC world title, having dropped the undisputed welterweight title when he took an extended sabbatical from the sport in November 2013.

The UFC has moved swiftly to remove any confusion from the championship picture, immediately promoting Australia’s interim UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker to undisputed champ and booking him in a maiden title defence against former world champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 on 11 February in Perth, Australia.

With no timetable set for his return, the big question mark now concerns what happens next for St-Pierre.

He could look to return to the welterweight division he dominated four years ago and potentially face the current champion American, Tyron Woodley. Or he could pursue a big money super-fight with Ireland’s Conor McGregor – a bout that could potentially become the highest-grossing fight in UFC history.

But with his statement hinting that his UFC comeback isn’t over just yet, it seems this might not be the last we’ve seen of St-Pierre inside the octagon.

Brits set for action on home soil

The UFC’s return to London may still be months away, but we already know the identities of three of the British stars set for action at The O2 Arena on 17 March.

Top welterweight prospect Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards will look to continue his run towards the ranking positions when he faces Polish-German veteran Peter Sobotta, while Bridgewater heavyweight Mark ‘The Hand Of’ Godbeer will return to British soil to take on Ukrainian debutant Dmitry Poberezhets.

Scottish light-heavyweight Paul Craig is also set for action – he’s scheduled to take on undefeated Russian debutant Magomed Ankalaev.