UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker broke his hand during his UFC 225 headlining bout with Yoel Romero. On Monday, he indicated the injury would require surgery, putting him on the shelf for the next several months.
“As soon as I get home, I’m going to have surgery to get a pin in the thumb,” Whittaker said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
Despite the surgery, Whittaker is hopeful to return to the Octagon before year's end.
“It’s a clean break, as good as a break can get. It should be pretty good,” Whittaker said. “I’m going to get surgery, going to get my rehab, and get strong. I really want to be fighting before the New Year.”
Whittaker wasn't sure when the break occurred, but he clearly remembers how serious it felt in the Octagon.
“I don’t remember when I broke it,” he said. “But I do remember not being able to feel my hand from my fingertips to my forearm. I knew something was up, because I never felt it like that before, I’ve broken hands before in fights, but I’ve never had it go that numb, completely unable to close it.”
While he was the interim champion, Whittaker spent a good portion of 2017 on the sidelines dealing with the knee injury. Meanwhile, Georges St-Pierre returned to the Octagon to take the undisputed title from Michael Bisping. GSP vacated the belt a short time later, which led to Whittaker being elevated to champion.
He was then booked to fight Luke Rockhold in February, but through a disastrous bout of misfortune, Whittaker had more health complications, dealing with a bout of chickenpox and the mistreatment of a staph infection in his stomach.
Whittaker will now be on the mend again, just hoping to get back into the cage in 2018 to defend his title.