Becoming a world champion at anything takes a shit load of hard work, determination, perseverance and skill. When a person is awarded that title, their name goes down in the history books and they get to be remembered forever.

But Aussie UFC fighter Rob Whittaker has managed to become the undisputed middleweight world champion without having to even step inside an octagon. That's not a bad effort, considering athletes usually have to belt each other for a few rounds before that achievement.

However, the title was given due to a technicality.

Up until this week, Georges St-Pierre was the reigning world champ in that division after winning UFC 217 in November. He was due to defend that title at the upcoming UFC 221 event in Perth against Whittaker but has pulled out for health reasons.

The 36-year-old issued this statement to the UFC: "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."

That immediately meant that Whittaker became the world champion. There's no denying that the 26-year-old Aussie has worked incredibly hard since his fighting debut in 2009 - but this is a pretty decent way to win the most coveted title in the sport.

Whittaker messaged St-Pierre when he announced his health problems, saying on Twitter: "Get well soon champ! @GeorgesStPierre @danawhite @ufc Take your time and get healthy looking forward to sharing the octagon with you #unify #anywhere."

Whittaker first got involved in fighting at the age of six when his dad enrolled him and his brother in Gōjū-ryū Karate school. He moved gyms nearly a decade later, but when that facility was transformed into a MMA gym, Robert decided to see what the sport was all about.

Interestingly, he doesn't like to engage in trash-talk before a match, telling the West Australian: "I'm the type of fighter that goes into every fight with no ill will towards my opponent. I'm an athlete first and foremost and I love the sport."

People started talking about Whittaker in 2012 when he won The Ultimate Fighter Smashes and then when he moved up to his current middleweight.

However, he became the first Australian and first New Zealand-born fighter to hold a UFC title when he beat Yoel Romero by unanimous decision in July this year.

No doubt there will be all eyes on the 26-year-old when he takes on Luke Rockhold to see if he can defend his new world champion title at UFC 221 in Perth.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Robert Whittaker

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