Canadian Georges St-Pierre has vacated the UFC middleweight title he won on his recent return to the octagon, citing health issues.

St-Pierre won the title when he returned from a four-year absence to defeat Michael Bisping and win the championship in thrilling fashion at UFC 217.

However in the wake of that fight, St-Pierre hinted that his return to the octagon may be short-lived and so is has proved to be.

St-Pierre has been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, impacting on his ability to train and he will now take a step back to focus on his health.

Australian Robert Whittaker has been installed as the new middleweight champion.

In a statement the Canadian fighter said: "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."

St-Pierre's decision to step-aside is the latest of a number of title vacations and the awarding of interim belts within the UFC. 

Ireland's two-division champion Conor McGregor was stripped of the UFC featherweight strap last year and Tony Ferguson won the interim title in the lightweight division where McGregor still holds the belt.

McGregor has yet to defend his lightweight title since winning it over a year ago and there have been calls from several fighters for him to defend it or vacate.