Georges St-Pierre has vacated his newly-won UFC middleweight belt, with Robert Whittaker and Luke Rockhold now set to fight for the title in Australia.
St-Pierre ended a four-year break from the Octagon when he returned to dethrone Michael Bisping at UFC 217, in New York, last month.
But the Canadian revealed earlier this week that he was suffering from colitis, which he first noticed when he was training to face Bisping.
— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) December 8, 2017
That has now led to St-Pierre surrendering the title and a title bout immediately arranged for UFC 221, in Perth, on February 10.
“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.
“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.”
Down under we go to get the gold. pic.twitter.com/7T1798h99W
— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) December 8, 2017
St-Pierre’s contract called for him to fight interim middleweight champion Whittaker, who has won his last eight contests.
New Zealand-born Whittaker has now been elevated to undisputed champion, with Rockhold getting an opportunity to regain the title he lost to Bisping in July 2016.