Robert Whittaker has cemented his position as the best middleweight in the world after he defeated Yoel Romero for the 2nd time. Whittaker vs Romero 2 had everything that we wish for the main event fight to have. Whittaker showed heart and determination in the face of adversity. He must now recover from a hand injury that was sustained during the fight, but the question of when Whittaker will return is already being asked.
In an interview with Lucas Grandsire for Bloody Elbow, Whittaker gave information about when he aims to return to action and his future opponents.
“It’s hard to say right now,” Whittaker said of his potential recover time, “but I think looking towards the end of the year most likely, maybe early next year I think is realistic. Because like I just mentioned, then, it’s going to be 3-4 months just to get through the rehab. That’s not training game plans, that’s not training striking patterns. That’s just trying to get back to where I was before the fight.”
The race for a shot at the middleweight champion continues as each top contender makes a claim to face the champion. After two huge consecutive wins against the former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and top contender Ronaldo Souza, Kelvin Gastelum seems to be at the front of the queue, but champion Whittaker is unsure of Gastelum’s worthiness believing that he still needs to beat either Weidman or Rockhold.
“You know, I think Weidman’s looking pretty good,” Whittaker said, when asked about possible next opponents. “I think Rockhold’s looking pretty good. Rockhold was next in line, then he took a fight he didn’t have to with Romero after Romero missed weight by a much bigger margin than he did with me. So, he’s still up there. Weidman, he’s still up there as a top contender. Gastelum? I think Gastelum needs to beat either Rockhold or Weidman to truly put himself in prime position. But yeah, there’s some top dogs up there and all that.”
It’s unclear when Chris Weidman will be returning to action. Although he defeated Kelvin Gastelum in July, 2017, he has not fought since due to a reoccurring thumb injury. Since being defeated by Weidman, Gastelum has racked up two impressive wins and it seems like he has put himself ahead Weidman. Rockhold, who was scheduled to fight Alexander Gustafsson at light-heavyweight, is also currently out of action after he underwent surgery on his shin.
Who do you think Robert Whittaker should face next for his middleweight championship?