Just when you thought the UFC’s chaotic middleweight division was going to reach some sort of state of homeostasis, a big Robert Whittaker-sized wrench gets thrown into things. Promoted to the undisputed middleweight champion, the hard-hitting Aussie was set to defend against Luke Rockhold. Unfortunately, he had to pull out due to undisclosed reasons, which led to Yoel Romero stepping in. Whittaker recently made an appearance and opened up about what took him out, and it’s absolutely bonkers.
“Everyone knows I like to fight injured. Half the fights I’ve taken I’ve always been injured. Just before I got ill I pulled my hamstring. And we could work around it and we were doing things to compensate for it, we were working around it, but then I got a really bad infection. And the infection in the end just took it out of me, I was really struggling to recover. And then right at the end of the infection I got the chicken pox. That’s why I’ve got the scars all over my face, because it was an absolute mess. If anyone’s had it, it’s just horrible.”
— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) December 12, 2017
“When they offered this outcome to me I was delighted. The number one and number two contenders get to bash each other, and I was just like, ‘Yes, good, please’. You know, as a fan of this sport I would’ve paid to watch this fight. This is the fight other people want to see. And I’m more than happy to bash Yoel [Romero] again, or I’m more than happy to give it to [Luke] Rockhold as well. We’ll see. I’m just focused on recovering. I’m gonna let Yoel and Rockhold punch a bit, but things are good and I’m looking for a big return mid-year. So let’s see what happens.” — Robert Whittaker speaking to Submission Radio.
A three-pronged attacked of an injury, infection, then chicken pox of all things took Robert Whittaker out of the fight at UFC 221. For a man that fought injured and won against a beast like Yoel Romero, of course it had to be something severe to take him out of the game. He wants to return sometime in the middle of 2018 and give the business to whoever comes out on top at the Australia pay-per-view he was supposed to headline. He’s going to try to take it out on one of those elite middleweights and that’s something you don’t want to miss.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/2/2018.