The middleweight division will move forward without Georges St-Pierre at the helm.
The news was first tweeted by MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on Thursday. MMA journalist Damon Martin later confirmed that GSP would relinquish the belt he won from Michael Bisping at UFC 217.
Per Helwani, UFC interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and Luke Rockhold will headline UFC 221 in Australia. In light of the GSP news, the UFC removed the interim tag from Whittaker and promoted him as the undisputed champion.
GSP provided a statement through the UFC.
“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.”
UFC 221 takes place on February 11 in Perth, Western Australia.