Robert Whittaker appeared on Ariel Helwani’s ESPN show on Monday. Contrary to reports that he was tageting the November card, Whittaker stated that he may not return until 2019.
As I previously reported, Whittaker’s coach noted in an interview that the UFC middleweight chanpion was targeting Chris Weidman for a title defence in New York.
Whittaker sustained hand injuries in his last title defence, a five round thriller against Yoel Romero. It seems said injuries are worse than first thought. Whittaker said in his interview with Ariel Helwani that he would not be back in the octagon until February 2019 at the earliest.
This news comes off the back of an announcement by the UFC that Whittaker would coach season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter, opposite Kelvin Gastelum.
As per tradition, the coaches will fight at the end of the show. The season begins in August and the finale takes place in November.
The UFC presumably planned to host Whittaker vs Gastelum on their end of year card. Middleweight contender, Gastelum will instead have to wait until early 2019 for his title shot.
Source: Ariel Helwani