Former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold has herniated multiple discs in his back ahead of his slated Octagon return on November 5. at UFC 268 — forcing the veteran from a main card clash with Sean Strickland.
Rockhold, who has been out of action since a knockout loss to current light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz back in July 2019 at UFC 239, was booked for his middleweight return against Strickland next month.
The Santa Cruz native has, however, confirmed that he has withdrawn from the matchup, detailing how he has herniated the L4 and L5 discs in his back, with doctors advising him to undergo a period of six weeks of PT, while he will require an epidural.
Rockhold had initially eyed an Octagon return this summer following multiple surgical procedures to address a torn rotator cuff and labrum. However, he has since been forced from his matchup with Strickland next month, confirming the news on his official Instagram.
“There’s no easy way to really say it, but the fight is off in New York,” Rockhold said. “I ended up herniating a disc in my back, L4, L5. The docs say it’s nothing I can play with. I need to do some treatment and recovery time. Some things just aren’t meant to be. New York, motherf*cking New York. I’m sorry to the friends and the peeps and everyone, but we’ll be back. Until next time.”
At the time of publication, the promotion are currently working on securing a short notice replacement that would keep Strickland on the UFC 268 card at Madison Square Garden — replacing the injured former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion, Rockhold.
In his most recent victory, Strickland, who has enjoyed an impressive five-fight winning run, took home a unanimous decision victory over Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 33 at the end of July.
Interestingly, Strickland commented on an Instagram post of Rockhold earlier this week, commenting “No you’re not….” in response to a post from the former champion, captioned, “One two combo. New York, we coming for ya! chitoveraufc see ya’ll soon.”
Strickland then claimed that he knew Rockhold would fail to make the November 5. date with him, claiming that the two sparred before and that he almost knocked Rockhold unconscious.
“He was never going to make it to the fight lmao… no one is surprised,” Strickland posted on Instagram. “I sparred him once and almost put him out… didn’t even spar the second round, walked out of the gym lmao… I knew this wasn’t happening.”
UFC 268 is scheduled to take place on November 5. from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York — with an undisputed welterweight title rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington taking main event honors.
In the co-headliner, as part of a championship doubleheader, two-time strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas meets with former champion, Zhang Weili in a rematch of their UFC 261 matchup back in April.
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