UFC 248 just took a major hit.
Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has been forced out of his scheduled fight against Jared Cannonier on March 7 in Las Vegas.
ESPN initially reported the change in the card, while adding that Whittaker has not suffered an injury but rather he’s dropping out due to personal reasons.
It’s unknown at this time when he will return to action. Whittaker was seeking his first win after losing the middleweight title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 last October.
With Whittaker out, the UFC has started the search for a replacement opponent to face Cannonier on the card. The former heavyweight and light heavyweight is now 3-0 at 185 pounds with knockouts in all three of his victories in the division. His last fight ended after Cannonier finished Jack Hermansson with strikes in the second round.
Cannonier will now have to wait and hope the UFC can find him another ranked opponent.
Former welterweight turned middleweight Darren Till has been calling for a fight against another top fighter in the division and he might be the perfect choice to replace Whittaker at UFC 248.
Right now, the UFC hasn’t made any decisions regarding Cannonier or Till as a potential opponent.
UFC 248 currently features several confirmed fights including Weili Zhang defending her strawweight title against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a featured bout on the card. A middleweight title fight has also been rumored with Israel Adesanya possibly taking on Yoel Romero in the main event, but that matchup has not been signed yet.