UFC 248 may have just received its second high-profile booking following a bout announcement earlier this week pitting Weili Zhang against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani spoke to Jared Cannonier’s manager, who revealed that his fighter had signed his side of the bout agreement to fight the former undisputed middleweight champion - Robert Whittaker (20-5).
However, Whittaker, who is looking to rebound from the loss of his title to Israel Adesanya has set his sights on division newcomer Darren Till in a London showdown. According to manager Lou Di Bono, this is what is currently causing the hold-up in what would likely be a title eliminator.
Cannonier is on an impressive three-fight win streak following stoppage victories over David Branch, Anderson Silva, and most recently Swedish standout Jack Hermansson. ‘The Killa Gorilla’ is undoubtedly on a rapid trajectory towards a title shot. But he will need to face his stiffest challenge yet in Bobby Knuckles, who is well aware of the pressures of being a coveted title holder, as he recently spoke about the distracting particulars of being a UFC champion.
“Yeah I kind of, I didn’t really like it that much,” Whittaker said of his title stint on Ariel Helwani MMA Show (transcript by MMA Mania). “It’s one of those things that, it comes with some pros, but the cons were really starting distracting me. There’s a lot of media, a lot of expectations and a lot of self-imposed pressure. It didn’t agree with me super well.
One thing is for certain - if Bobby Knuckles shows up without any distractions, we could be in for a hugely entertaining collision of middleweight titans.