On Friday, Dec. 13, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre joined UFC President Dana White in a media conference call to announce that the longtime reigning champion would be taking an indefinite hiatus from fighting and subsequently relinquish his belt. It was also announced that No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks would be fighting veteran Robbie Lawler on Mar. 15, 2014 at UFC 171 in Dallas. Below are highlights from the call.

St-Pierre on his absence

“I’ve been fighting for a very long time [at] a high level. It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of criticism, and yeah, I’ve decided I need to take time off and I know the UFC is a business,” said St-Pierre. “They can’t wait for my little person, for sure, they have to keep things rolling, so I’ve vacated my title for the respect of the other [competitors]. One day when I feel it I might come back, but right now I need a break.

“I’m going to keep training, keep improving, getting better,” revealed St-Pierre. “A lot of things to change. And you know live a little bit more of a normal life. That’s about it.

“Maybe one day I will come back, depending. The problem is I don’t know how long.”

Dana White’s take on the situation

“I agree with Georges 100 percent,” said the UFC President. “He sat down and talked to us and said, ‘I have a lot of personal issues I’m dealing with right now and I can’t even imagine going into another training camp, it’ll drive me crazy’ and all these things. I agree with him 100 percent… this isn’t baseball or some sport where you go out, this is fighting man, you have to be 100 percent mental, physical, emotional. If you’re not then you should sit out on the sidelines and wait until you get your stuff cleared up and I think it’s the right move.

“We knew that something was going on with him,” explained White. “The one thing that I know, Georges St-Pierre has always been 100 precent professional. I couldn’t say enough good things about him. It is what it is.

“If you look at the rankings you’ve got Condit and then you’ve got Lawler. Those are the top two guys, so Condit just had a shot at the title against Georges and just had a shot at Johny Hendricks. So Robbie Lawler just beat the guy that everybody wanted to see fight Georges St-Pierre [Rory MacDonald]. Not to mention the fact that there is no doubt the Robbie Lawler-Johny Hendricks fight is going to be an absolute gun fight.

“Johny Hendricks went absolutely crazy, and Robbie Lawler went about as crazy as Robbie Lawler can get.”

Photo: Georges St-Pierre (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)