Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is starting to get back into training after an injury and an illness knocked him out of his first title defense at UFC 221 against Luke Rockhold.
It was heartbreaking for Whittaker to drop out of the fight that was taking place in his own backyard in Australia, but unfortunately his body was ailing from a hamstring injury as well as an internal illness that UFC president Dana White described as a mistreated staph infection.
On Friday, Whittaker gave an update on his current condition when speaking to fans at the UFC 221 open workouts in Australia, while also addressing the interim title fight that now headlines the card between Rockhold and Yoel Romero.
“Everyone knows I like to fight injured. Half the fights I’ve taken I’ve always been injured. Just before I got ill I pulled my hamstring. And 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,” Whittaker revealed.
“And the infection in the end just took it out of me, I was really struggling to recover. And then right at the end of the infection, I got the chicken pox. That’s why I’ve got the scars all over my face, because it was an absolute mess. If anyone’s had it, it’s just horrible,” he continued.
“When they offered this outcome to me, I was delighted. 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 the fight other 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.”
While Whittaker wishes he could be fighting on the card rather than sitting on the sidelines watching as as spectator, he doesn’t expect to be out of action too much longer until he can unify the titles with the winner of the UFC 221 main event in Perth.
“I’m just focused on recovering,” Whittaker said. “I’m gonna let Yoel and Rockhold punch a bit, but things are good and I’m looking for a big return mid-year. So let’s see what happens.”
(Video courtesy of Submission Radio)