UFC shock as Whittaker withdraws
Robert Whittaker's quest to regain UFC gold has been delayed, with the former middleweight champion forced to withdraw from his planned bout with Jared Cannonier at UFC 248 due to personal reasons.
Whittaker, Australia's first UFC champion, was due to face the hard-hitting Cannonier in Las Vegas on March 8 (AEST), but will now be forced to wait before he attempts another run at the title.
"Apologies to all my friends and supporters but unfortunately I won't be competing on the UFC 248 fight card," Whittaker said.
Watch UFC 248 Pre-Fight Show & Prelim Fights on KAYO. Full Card on MAIN EVENT. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
"There are a few other things going on in my life that I need to give priority to sort out, so I have to change my plans.
"But I'll be back soon, bigger and better than ever. Sorry Jared … I'll see you down the track."
Whittaker remains the No.1 contender at middleweight, according to the UFC's ranking system.
The 29-year-old lost his crown to New Zealand's Israel Adesanya last October, suffering his first defeat in over five years.
Cannonier may remain on the card, which may be headlined by Adesanya's first title defence.
Yoel Romero, who Whittaker defeated twice in two classic encounters, is in line for another shot at the belt, but the bout is yet to be confirmed.