Canadian MMA star Georges St-Pierre announces his retirement

Georges St-Pierre, a two-division UFC champion who put mixed martial arts on the map in Canada, is retiring. The 37-year-old from St-Isidore, Que., made the announcement on Thursday at the Bell Centre.

Two-division champion leaves with a record of 26-2-0 and a 13-fight winning streak

Georges St-Pierre announced Thursday he is giving up his recently won UFC middleweight title because of health issues.The 36-year-old revealed earlier this week that he has been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. (Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

Canada's Georges St-Pierre is retiring from mixed martial arts.

The 37-year-old from St-Isidore, Que., made the announcement on Thursday at the Bell Centre.

St-Pierre, a two-division champion, leaves with a record of 26-2-0 and a 13-fight winning streak. He holds the record for most 170-pound title defences at nine.

WATCH | Georges St-Pierre walking away from MMA:

Former two-division UFC champion Georges St-Pierre of Saint-Isidore, Que. officially announced his retirement on Thursday. 0:48

"It takes a lot of discipline to become and stay champion. It also takes a lot of discipline to stop while still feeling that you're in the best physical and mental shape of your life, but I've always planned to leave the sport when I'm at the top and in good health," St-Pierre said in a statement.

"I want to thank my family, my fans, my coaches, trainers and training partners, my sponsors and my agents for their ... support during all these years. I will forever be grateful for the work of (former UFC bosses) Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, as well as (UFC president) Dana White and all UFC employees for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills before the world, from UFC 46 to UFC 217.

"I also want to thank each of my opponents. All of them are incredible athletes who brought out the best in me. I retire from competition with great pride at having had a positive impact on my sport. I intend to keep training and practising martial arts for as long as I live and I look forward to watching the new generation of champions carry our sport into the future."

St-Pierre debuted on the big stage with a unanimous decision win over Karo Parisyan at UFC 46 in 2004. He won his first welterweight championship via knockout over Matt Hughes at UFC 65 in 2006.

After losing the title to Matt Serra, he later recaptured the belt via TKO in their rematch at UFC 83 in Montreal.

While he has fought just once since stepping away from the sport in late 2013 after nine straight welterweight title defences, St-Pierre made headlines in November 2017 when he dethroned middleweight champion Michael (The Count) Bisping in his comeback bout at UFC 217.

St-Pierre gave up the 185-pound crown a month later, citing health issues (ulcerative colitis). Despite that limited activity, he still stands eighth in the UFC's pound-for-pound rankings.

"Georges has cemented his legacy as one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters ever," White said. "He beat all the top guys during his welterweight title reign and even went up a weight class to win the middleweight championship. He spent years as one of the biggest names in MMA and remains one of the best ambassadors for the sport. He put Canada on the MMA map."

In 2011, St-Pierre set the largest UFC gate outside the U.S. at US$12.075 million when he headlined UFC 129 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The event had the second largest attendance in UFC history with 55,724 fans.

St-Pierre won Sports Illustrated fighter of the year in 2009. He was nominated for best fighter at the ESPY Awards in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2018.

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