UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker was scheduled to defend the gold against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of 234, but the title holder would suffered from a severe abdominal issue that required surgery and was pulled from the card.
The fighter has since had the surgery, has fully recovered and is able to train for a return to the Octagon according to Ariel Helwani of ESPN.
Titus Day, who serves as Whittaker’s manager, has told ESPN that Whittaker is looking to return to action in August. The UFC doesn’t have any events announced for August at this time, but that could change anytime now.
Gastelum and Israel Adesanya will battle for the vacant UFC Interim Middleweight Title this month at UFC 236, with the winner expected to face Whittaker in a title unification bout. ESPN is also reporting that if Adesanya wins, a title bout against Whittaker could happen in Australia, but a Gastelum win would see the unification bout happen in the United States.
Whittaker hasn’t been seen in action since UFC 225 in June of 2018, where he defeated Yoel Romero by split decision to retain the UFC Middleweight Championship. That means that when Whittaker does return to action, it would be his first bout in over a year.