The UFC’s middleweight king Robert Whittaker can’t catch a break when it comes to injuries. Now he expects he won’t fight until next year at the earliest.
Despite breaking his hand once again in his second encounter with Yoel Romero at UFC 225, Whittaker was has been announced as one of the coaches for season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Opposite of the champion will be his next challenger and fellow past TUF season (17) winner Kelvin Gastelum.
As is always the case with TUF (minus an exception or two), the coaches will fight after the season.
However, due to Whittaker’s injury which he now has revealed on The Ariel Helwani MMA Show includes ligament damage in his hand, the Aussie doesn’t plan to fight again until at least 2019.
“I’m not too sure just yet, but I have let Dana know that I definitely won’t be ready before next year.” Whittaker said, “My hand, rehab. Both hands; I have to get to 100 percent with my hands to start rehab.
The healing process has to begin before I can ever start a rehab program. And then I need to strengthen my hands back up to 100 percent. Then when I’m back to 100 percent, I would like to get a little bit of training done. Realistically I am looking at February next year.”
New to serious injuries, because of the setbacks this will make 2018 the first year in Whittaker’s career where he will have only fought once.
At just age 27, Whittaker has been very active in his 24 fight career as he has been fighting at least twice a year since 2009 when he debuted.
TUF 28 airs on August 29th with the finale set to take place on November 30th.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/16/2018