Former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight Robert Whittaker titlist will not be making a comeback to the Octagon this March.
Whittaker last fought in the main event of UFC 243 in October 2019 in an attempt to unify the middleweight titles against then-interim champ, Israel Adesanya.
The unification bout was one of the biggest sports event in the Oceanic region to date but the Australia’s local hero failed to live up to expectations.
‘Bobby Knuckles’ did not survive Adesanya’s strikes fest to suffer a second round knockout loss, his first defeat in five years.
The Nevada-based promotion booked him against Cannonier for the UFC 248 fight card but the scheduled middleweight bout is now scrapped as Whittaker pulled out due to personal reasons.
“Robert Whittaker is out his March 7 UFC 248 fight against Jared Cannonier due to undisclosed personal reasons, sources say. UFC efforting to keep Cannonier on the card but no opponent locked in yet, I’m told,” ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported.
Robert Whittaker is out his March 7 UFC 248 fight against Jared Cannonier due to undisclosed personal reasons, sources say. UFC efforting to keep Cannonier on the card but no opponent locked in yet, I’m told.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 15, 2020
Not Going Anywhere
Following his defeat to Adesanya, Whittaker said he looks forward to meeting the Kiwi-Nigerian again in the cage after one or two fights.
“Yeah, hats off to Adesanya”, Whittaker told Jon Anik, (transcript from BJPenn.com)
“He is a great striker. I thought I was doing pretty well, until you get caught. But, you know I’m only 28. I’ll see him in a fight or two yeah?
“Thanks for everyone who came out today. Thanks to my family and thanks to my coaches. Everybody did great getting me here.”
“Honestly, this is the best I’ve ever felt. I didn’t get the W today but I am not going anywhere.”
“I just want to say thank you for all the love and support I have felt from everybody, it honestly makes me love what I do”
“Tonight just wasn’t my night, it happens but I’ll just come back stronger. I always do.”
OFFICIAL: Robert Whittaker is out of his #UFC248 bout against Jared Cannonier.
The UFC are trying to keep Cannonier on the card but no opponent has been locked in yet. pic.twitter.com/QIiym4NaqY
— Oddschanger (@Oddschanger) January 16, 2020
With the middleweight fight between Whittaker and Cannonier already scrapped, here is the current line up for the UFC 248 fight card:
Champ Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – for women’s strawweight title
Jared Cannonier vs. TBA
Danaa Batgerel vs. Guido Cannetti
Polyana Viana vs. Emily Whitmire
Li Jingliang vs. Neil Magny
Beneil Dariush vs. Drakkar Klose
Sean O’Malley vs. Jose Quinonez
Calvin Kattar vs. Jeremy Stephens
Max Griffin vs. Alex Oliveira
Saparbek Safarov vs. Rodolfo Vieira
Austin Hubbard vs. Mark Madsen
— UFC Universe (@UFC_unvrz) January 10, 2020
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Robert Whittaker and YouTube/ UFC)