Robert Whittaker was looking to defend his middleweight title in Australia at UFC 234. All signs pointed to that happening after both Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum made weight the day before.
However, on the morning of the fight, Whittaker was taken to the hopsital. There he was put in emergency surgery for a collapsed bowel and a hernia. That forced Whittaker off the card, as well as Gastelum. Now, in its place, Gastelum will be taking on Israel Adesanya for the interim title. The winner is expected to fight Whittaker when he is healthy.
The question is still out there of when will Whittaker return. Well, speaking to ESPN he gave an estimated time of return.
“They said that after about two weeks I can start to walk again and then about four weeks I can start to ease back into training and movement and things like that and then just take it from there,” Whittaker said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “The main thing is not to lift because obviously my intestine and bowels are a bit funny with the scarring and cuts that I had to get.
“. . . I’ve penned in my diary ‘August’ but my biggest calendar is just my health. I’ve never had a hard timeline on when I fight ever. It’s just one of those things, I need to get better. When I’m better I train, and then I fight to the best of my ability. So I think August is a good date. I think, obviously I have to let Adesanya and Gastelum fight and then when they’re ready I’ll give them a run.”
For now, Whittaker is healing up and once he can train will get back in the gym and await the winner of Gastelum vs Adesanya. Whittaker has stated he doesn’t think the two deserve the shot, but would beat both of them.