Whittaker out of UFC 248 bout vs. Cannonier
Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Robert Whittaker has pulled out of his upcoming middleweight bout against Jared Cannonier at UFC 248 on March 7, UFC officials confirmed Wednesday.

Whittaker withdrew from the fight due to undisclosed personal reasons, according to ESPN's Ariel Helwani.

"There are a few other things going on in my life that I need to give priority to and sort out, so I have had to change my plans," Whittaker said in a statement, according to the UFC. "But I'll be back soon, bigger and better than ever.

"Sorry Jared. I'll see you down the track."

The former UFC middleweight champion was looking to rebound from his title loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 last October. Whittaker lost the highly anticipated fight - and his first title defense - by second-round knockout.

The loss to Adesanya snapped Whittaker's nine-fight winning streak, which included a pair of victories over Yoel Romero and finishes of Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson. Whittaker won the interim title in 2017 and was promoted to undisputed champion later that year.

Cannonier has made waves in the 185-pound division since moving down from light heavyweight in 2018. "The Killa Gorilla" has won three straight, most recently upsetting Jack Hermansson by second-round TKO last September.

The UFC is reportedly trying to keep Cannonier on the UFC 248 card, but no opponent has been finalized.

UFC 248 will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Zhang Weili is slated to defend the strawweight belt against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the co-main event.

A middleweight title fight between Adesanya and Romero is in the works to headline the card, but it's not yet official.

Whittaker out of UFC 248 bout vs. Cannonier
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