Georges St. Pierre announced on Friday that he is vacating his title. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Longtime UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is hanging up his gloves -- for the time being, anyway.
St. Pierre announced Friday during a media conference call that he will vacate the welterweight title and take a leave of absence.
“I’ve talked with Dana [White] and Lorenzo [Fertitta] about it,” said St. Pierre. “I’ve been fighting for long time. I’ve had 22 fights in the UFC at a very high level, and I decided I need to take some time off. I know the UFC is a business, and they have to keep things rolling. I don’t want to make people wait out of the respect for the sport, so I vacate the title. One day, when I feel like it, I might come back, but right now, I need a break.”
“Rush” returned from a torn ACL last year and successfully defended his belt against interim champion Carlos Condit before outpointing former Strikeforce ruler Nick Diaz to kick off 2013. St. Pierre last competed on Nov. 16, when he took a split decision from Johny Hendricks to retain his title at UFC 167. The victory was a controversial one, and St. Pierre made reference to a potential break from fighting in his post-fight interview.
A two-time welterweight champion, St. Pierre began his MMA career in 2002 and won the UFC title from Matt Hughes in 2006. Though the 32-year-old was upset by heavy underdog Matt Serra in his first defense, St. Pierre regained his belt from the New Yorker two years later and then defended the strap a record nine consecutive times, capping the stretch with his split decision win over Hendricks.