Unfortunately the return of Luke Rockhold is being delayed.
Rockhold has not fought since suffering back-to-back knockout losses to Yoel Romero and current light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz two years ago. After discussing the possibility of retirement, the former middleweight champ decided that he was still interested in fighting, booking a fight with Sean Strickland after a few failed fight negotiations.
However, it seems that this return to action at UFC 268 is going to be delayed. According to a post to his Instagram Stories, Rockhold has suffered two herniated discs, forcing him out of the November contest.
“There’s no easy way to really say it, but the fight is off in New York,” Rockhold said (h/t MMAJunkie). “I ended up herniating a disc in my back. L4, L5. The docs say it’s nothing I can play with. I need to do some treatment and recovery time. Some things just aren’t meant to be. New York, motherf*cking New York. I’m sorry to the friends and the peeps and everyone, but we’ll be back. Until next time.”
This is obviously disappointing for the fans that were excited and looking forward to seeing Rockhold return to the Octagon. On the bright side, he told Ariel Helwani that this was not a severe enough injury to require surgery. Instead, he will be getting an epidural and having about a month and a half of physical therapy.
It will be interesting to see if the UFC decides to rebook this fight, given the nature of the bad blood between the two. At the time of writing, it is unclear if the promotion is looking for a replacement opponent for Sean Strickland.
Here is the updated UFC 268 card, set for November 6th:
Main Card (PPV, 10pm EST)
- Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington 2 (Welterweight Title Fight)
- Rose Namajunas vs Weili Zhang 2 (Strawweight Title Fight)
- Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler
- Frankie Edgar vs Marlon Vera
- Alex Pereira vs Andrea Michailidis
Prelims (ESPNEWS, 8pm EST)
- Al Iaquinta vs Bobby Green
- Shane Burgos vs Billy Quarantillo
- Edmen Shahbazyan vs Nassourdine Imavov
- Ian Garry vs Jordan Williams
Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, 6pm EST)
- Gian Villante vs Chris Barnett
- Aleksa Camur vs John Allan
- Melsik Baghdasaryan vs TJ Laramine
- CJ Veraga vs Ode’ Osbourne