UFC: NZ-born Robert Whittaker crowned UFC middleweight champ

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For most mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, the last legitimate 185-pound title defense came when Luke Rockhold lost his title to Michael Bisping in the summer of a year ago.

St. Pierre issued a statement explaining he needed to focus on his health and is looking forward to working with the UFC to determine the next chapter in his professional life.

"Of course, in terms of weight, if I want to go back to compete at 185, I will - obviously eating, like I did what I did, I learned from my mistakes, I don't think it's a good thing to do, force myself to eat to gain muscle mass".

St-Pierre defeated Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship at UFC 217 on November 4.

Since then, however, the Canadian superstar has been diagnosed with colitis and he has chose to vacate his title. With the decision, the UFC crowned Robert Whittaker the undisputed champion, a title he'll defend vs. Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 next year.

Georges St-Pierre's run as middleweight champion lasted just 33 days, announcing he has effectively vacated the throne due to a battle with ulcerative colitis.

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Helwani reported that it was unclear as to whether Whittaker v Rockhold would be for the interim or official championship.

With this announcement, interim champion Whitaker has been elevated to undisputed champion, and subject to approval from the Combat Sports Commission in Western Australia, the five-round bout will be the first event in Western Australia and held at Perth Arena.

On Thursday, that plan changed when St-Pierre told the UFC he was giving up the title effective immediately.

Sydney's Whittaker first arrived on the UFC scene when he won The Ultimate Fighter Smashes at welterweight in 2012.

The UFC's first-ever Australian champion, Robert Whittaker has been sidelined with ligament damage in his knee that he acquired in his title-winning effort over Yoel Romero at UFC 213.

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