UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker was supposed to defend the belt against former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 221.
However, a series of medical issues caused the champion to get pulled from the card, which the fighter calls a mess.
“Everyone knows I like to fight injured,” said Whittaker at the UFC 221 open workouts. “Half the fights I’ve taken I’ve always been injured. Just before I got ill, I pulled my hamstring. 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 and the antibiotics just took it out of me. I was really struggling to recover and then right at the end of the infection, I got the chickenpox [laughs]. That’s why I’ve got the scars all over my face. It was an absolute mess. If anyone’s had it, it’s just horrible [laughs].”
Yoel Romero was selected to replace Whittaker and he now battles Rockhold for the vacant UFC Interim Middleweight Title.
Whittaker is happy with how the UFC handled the whole situation, plus he would be overjoyed to bash Romero again.
”When they offered this outcome to me I was delighted,” said Whittaker. “The number one and number two contenders get to bash each other, and I was just like, ‘Yes. Good. Please.’ As a fan of this sport, I would’ve paid to watch this fight. This is a fight I think people want to see, and I’m more than happy to bash Yoel again or I’m more than happy to give it to Rockhold as well. We’ll see.”
UFC 221 takes place on Saturday, February 10 from the Perth Arena in Perth, Australia with Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.