The return of former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker appears to be imminent.
Whittaker has cancelled his 13-date speaking tour scheduled for November and December in Australia and New Zealand, according to a statement released Wednesday on the Australian event ticketing company Ticketek’s website.
“An exciting opportunity has arisen that requires Rob to return to training immediately,” Whittaker’s management group Rival Sports Management wrote in a statement. ... “Next fight opponent and news will be announced soon.”
A request for comment sent to the management group was not returned Wednesday night.
Whittaker, who lost the 185-pound title earlier this month at UFC 243 to Israel Adesanya, was scheduled to speak in several different cities throughout the two countries, including Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, and Perth. The tour was set to run from Nov. 21 to Dec. 6, according to Whittaker’s website.
The news that Whittaker seemingly has a bout lined up comes at an interesting time, as Adesanya appears to have a fight in the works, too. UFC president Dana White said earlier this week that Adesanya will not be fighting top contender Paulo Costa next, as the Brazilian is out eight months due to bicep surgery. White said the promotion is working on Adesanya’s next fight, but did not confirm who it would be against if not Costa.
Adesanya later hinted at a potential title defense against Yoel Romero, who responded and said he was open to the matchup.
Adesanya finished Whittaker in the second round of the highly anticipated UFC 243 main event in Melbourne. It was Whittaker’s first fight since June 2018. During his layoff, Adesanya won the interim title, eventually unifying the belts against “The Reaper.”
Ticketek said it will refund all tickets purchased for Whittaker’s tour.