UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is aiming for an August return to the octagon aftersurgery for a hernia and collapsed bowel.
Whittaker was slated to defend his title two weeks ago against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234, but he was rushed to the hospital and forced to withdraw hours before the event. He’s now recovering at home in Sydney, Australia.
“I feel good,” Whittaker said on. “Obviously, I feel blessed to be able to be sitting here.”
Physicians gave Whittaker an alarming assessment when he arrived at the hospital.
“You need emergency surgery, or you’re going to die,” he was told.
He’ll likely fight the winner of the bout between Gastelum and Israel Adesanya, an interim title fight on April 13. Whittaker believes both middleweight opponents “jumped the queue just a bit.”
“Get Adesanya to run the gauntlet like I did,” Whittaker said. “Let’s see if he looks the same afterward.”
Gastelum lost to Chris Weidman in July 2017, but he’s won both of his fights since.
Of his two possible upcoming opponents, Whittaker feels he matches up better against Adesanya.
“I think I can get inside his guard, and I can put heat on him,” he said. “I think Gastelum is a hard fight because he’s a tough guy with a thick head.”
Whittaker was told he can begin training in four weeks.
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