UFC has announced in the past couple of hours that there have been some major changes in their middleweight division that will reshape future fights in 2018 in the division.
It was only last month at UFC 217 that Georges St-Pierre made his return to UFC after almost four years away from the promotion and defeated Michael Bisping to become the new UFC Middleweight Champion.
This win made Rush the fourth person in UFC history to become a champion in multiple divisions alongside Randy Coutre, BJ Penn, and Conor McGregor. Following his successful return, many fighters had put their names forward to be his next opponent.
The logical choice for GSP's next opponent would have been interim UFC Middleweight Champion, Robert Whittaker. Another big name fighter that was interested in facing the Canadian was UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley.
However, in light of recent news, major changes have been made for the St-Pierre's fighting future in UFC, as well as the future of the middleweight division in UFC.
According to MMA Fighting, one week on after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, GSP has decided to vacate the UFC Middleweight title, just over one month after defeating Bisping for the championship, meaning Whittaker is now crowned as the undisputed champion of the middleweight division.
Rush said in a statement: "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.”
Moving forward in the middleweight division without St-Pierre, Whittaker will now defend the title against former champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 on February 10 in Perth, Australia.
So, not only is GSP the fourth fighter in UFC history to become a champion in two different weight classes, but he also now becomes the first fighter to vacate a title in two different weight classes as he dropped the welterweight belt in 2013 prior to his hiatus from the promotion.
However, a spot for another big fight in the future against Woodley has just opened up, at his much more comfortable division of welterweight.
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