SACRAMENTO, Calif. - UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has vacated his title, citing a desire for a lengthy break from mixed martial arts.
St. Pierre made the announcement Friday.
He cited the relentless pressure of training and unspecified personal problems for his move away from the sport.
St. Pierre is considered one of the sport's greatest athletes with 12 straight victories and nine consecutive 170-pound title defences, including a split decision over Johny Hendricks last month.
He has been the UFC's biggest pay-per-view draw since the departure of heavyweight Brock Lesnar.
St. Pierre believes he'll eventually return to the sport, but doesn't want to "jam up" the welterweight division during his absence.
Hendricks will fight Robbie Lawler on March 15 in Dallas for the vacant 170-pound belt, UFC President Dana White says.