Georges St-Pierre waits to fight Michael Bisping in the middleweight...

Georges St-Pierre waits to fight Michael Bisping in the middleweight title fight at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4, 2017. Credit: Mario Gonzalez

Middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre is vacating his world title, UFC announced Thursday.

“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 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.”

St-Pierre made a triumphant return to the UFC last month, defeating Michael Bisping at Madison Square Garden after a four-year absence from MMA.

Following the announcement, interim champion Robert Whittaker will defend the title against former champion Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 221 in Australia on Saturday, Feb. 10.

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