Robert Whittaker has confirmed that an injury will keep him out of his UFC 275 bout against Marvin Vettori, so “The Italian Dream” is already going to work finding his next opponent.
Vettori took to Twitter to put out the call for a new opponent, calling out Khamzat Chimaev and Darren Till — aka the Smesh Bros.
“We’re back at this. I think I’m the only 185er that can say that has never pulled out of a fight but anyway smash boys I’ll get you back to back lets do it I’m willing to die just show up,” Vettori tweeted on April 20.
There’s still time to find Vettori a quality opponent, with the pay-per-view date set for June 11. Till would make more sense than Chimaev, considering the two were previously set to square off last April. Till was forced to pull out of that bout with a broken collarbone.
Chimaev is coming off a win a UFC 273 and is clearly in the welterweight title picture as the No. 3 contender. He likely would not be willing to take the risk of moving up a division.
Vettori did have a taker via Twitter in Paulo Costa, who sounded game to take on the former title challenger.
“Vettori needs a pair to fight? Oh really? Lol how funny is it ? send me the location dumbest,” Costa tweeted.
Costa later tweeted, “Let’s fight moron,” with a picture of Vettori attached. The two faced off in October of last year, with Vettori winning by unanimous decision.
Whittaker Apologizes for Injury on Twitter
Whittaker is trying to earn another shot at Israel Adesanya after falling to him via a five-round decision back in the headliner of UFC 271 in February. Adesanya is the only fight that has been able to best Whittaker since 2014, with “The Reaper” going 12-2 over that span.
Vettori would have been a good stepping stone fight to get another title shot but the undisclosed injury will keep him on the shelf a bit longer than expected.
“Sorry to say guys due to an injury I took early in the camp I’m not able to compete in June. I did everything I could to get it right but its not healing in time,” Whittaker tweeted. “All this means is that I’ll be back in the octagon a couple months later and I’ll be better than ever.”
The injury is a setback, but at 31, Whittaker could still earn another shot at UFC gold with a few wins.
Whittaker Was Critical of Aljamain Sterling Prior to Win
Whittaker was in the news prior to UFC 273 for criticizing bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling before his fight with Petr Yan.
“He didn’t win. Petr lost. Sterling didn’t win. Petr lost,” Whittaker told Fox Sports. “This is how it happened. That is the undeniable truth of the matter. So you can’t go around saying I’m the champ, I’m the best in the world, cause you didn’t win the belt – you were given it. It’s different.”
After Sterling bested Yan earlier this month, Whittaker didn’t dance around the fact that he owed “Funk Master” an apology.
“Well isn’t there egg on my face…congrats mate,” Whittaker tweeted. “I have recently had a perspective change.”