Jon Jones: Georges St-Pierre 'went out like a champion'

USA TODAY Sports

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones reacts to Georges St-Pierre stepping away from MMA

The mixed martial arts world got something to talk about on Friday when Georges St-Pierre announced that he was "vacating" the UFC Welterweight title, and taking a break from the sport.

The now former champion did leave the door open for a return to the Octagon, but when that return will be, only St-Pierre knows. St-Pierre cited "pressure" and "criticism" among the reasons why he was stepping away from the sport.

St-Pierre's announcement did not come as much of a surprise in the wake of UFC 167. Following his win over Johny Hendricks in the main event of that fight card, St-Pierre indicated that he planned to step away from the UFC for a while. Now, nearly a month after those words were haltingly spoken by St-Pierre inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, his break has become official.

One person that was not shocked by the announcement was UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who spoke to Ariel Helwani about St-Pierre:

I am not surprised by it. I understand what Georges is going through. It's a lot of work, and I'm actually happy for him. I don't think he has much more to prove. He's been through that division several times and he went out like a champion, on top and on his terms (with a) good head on his shoulders. I think there's so many opportunities out there for him, and I'm happy for him. I think he's been a great example.

St-Pierre accumulated a 19-2 record in the UFC (25-2 career). His only two losses with the promotion came in title fights against Matt Hughes and Matt Serra. The Serra loss, St-Pierre's last defeat came on April 7, 2007. Since that loss, St-Pierre is unbeaten in 12 straight fights. His 19 wins in the UFC put him first all-time with the promotion. His nine title defenses rank him second all-time in the UFC, and first all-time in the UFC's welterweight division.

Shortly after St-Pierre announced he would vacate the title, UFC president Dana White announced that Johny Hendricks would face Robbie Lawler for the title at UFC 171. That fight will be the main event on the March 15 fight card. The light heavyweight title bout between champion Jon Jones and challenger Glover Teixeira has been shifted to UFC 172

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