UFC 234 pay-per-view guide: Start time, card, how to watch
11 February, 2019, 03:07
Fighting out of Sydney, Whittaker is the UFC's first titleholder from Australia.
"This is my belt, I earned this", he said.
White would not speculate about whether an interim championship would be created and said that he projects Whittaker will be able to resume training in four weeks. Whittaker was forced to pull out of the bout Saturday due to emergency surgery on his bowel and abdomen.
Previously, UFC officials had stated the victor of the new main event between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva would be declared the No. 1 contender.
Provided Robert Whittaker heals quickly, it sounds as though the UFC's intention is rebook his planned fight with Kelvin Gastelum - perhaps as soon as April.
'I was devastated when they told me the news, I wish Rob all the best, a speedy recovery and hope he recovers a hundred per cent, ' he told ESPN.
Brett Okamoto, Chael Sonnen and Gilbert Melendez discuss if Robert Whittaker should be stripped of his belt after pulling out of UFC 234 due to an abdominal hernia. Adesanya sidestepped the blow, however, and went back to work.
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Earlier in the week UFC President Dana White confirmed that the victor of the bout would be next in line for a middleweight title shot, however with Whittaker's withdrawal, Adesanya will likely have to wait for the dust to settle between Gastelum and Whittaker.
UFC 234 will take place at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia and fans are in for an absolute treat, though one that's missing the day's primary entertainment.
Nigerian-born Auckland-based Adesanya, who has a 16-0 MMA record, added to his growing reputation with a strong victory over Silva.
"F*ck, he didn't want the surgery, he wanted to fight", Prates said. "Jacare" (Souza) can fight Kelvin, or they already fight - get a rematch.