Jared Cannonier was originally supposed to face Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker at UFC 248 in what was the former Champion's return after losing his Middleweight title to Israel Adesanya. Due to personal reasons (and not an injury), Whittaker had to pull out of the fight.
UFC didn't want to remove Cannonier from the card and the idea was to have Darren Till replace Whittaker to face Cannonier. Till seemed up for the challenge as well but claimed that he had visa issues and wouldn't be able to make it on time.
As a result, the planned bout between Cannonier and Till is scrapped, as per Brett Okamoto of ESPN. Okamoto tweeted:
This means that Cannonier will serve as a back-up fighter for the main event of UFC 248 between Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero for the Middleweight Championship. This means that he'll still have to go through the weight-cutting process until a couple of days before the fight.
It's unfortunate news, but hopefully, Cannonier will have an opponent rescheduled soon enough. It all depends on Whittaker's situation and if all is well with him, we expect the bout against Cannonier to happen in two months or three.
Cannonier is considered the dark horse of the Middleweight division, ranked at #4. He may just be one win away from earning a title shot. If he manages to beat Whittaker or Till, a title shot is undeniable.
However, there's also another factor - Paulo Costa. The Brazilian has a title shot virtually guaranteed when he returns from injury later this year.
Either way, the Middleweight title picture is going to be extremely interesting in 2020. If Israel Adesanya can manage to get past the sea of sharks lined up for him, it'll be a big step in his legacy.Published 14 Feb 2020, 10:50 IST