UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker’s broken thumb will keep him out of the cage until at least February. Auckland-born Whittaker had surgery on his thumb after returning to Sydney from his split decision win over Cuban Yoel Romero in Chicago last month and said he was unable to start rehabilitation as his hand was still healing.
“I can’t even start the rehab process yet, it’s more just letting it heal and letting it set properly first,” he told ESPN.
“I have to get to 100 percent with my hand to start rehab … and then I need to strengthen my hand back up to 100 percent.
“Realistically I’m looking at February next year.”
Whittaker is scheduled to fight Kevin Gastelum next and both the fighter are TUF coaches for the next season for which they were 2012 and 2013 winners respectively.
Gastelum has lost just once in his last six fights and will have the advantage over Whittaker who will be coming off an injury.