Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will face top contender Jared Cannonier in his first fight since losing the title. The bout will take place at UFC 248 on March 7, at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada.

The Australians two-year reign as middleweight king came to an ugly end against New Zealander Israel Adesanya. ‘The Last Stylebender’ picked up a second round TKO win when the pair squared off at UFC 243 in October this year. His win ended a title run that for Whittaker has been plagued with injuries and misfortune.

Since beating Yoel Romero in impressive fashion in 2017, Whittaker has seriously struggled with injuries. After 11 months out with a knee injury he again fought the Cuban, in another five round dog fight. Again, he picked up the judge’s decision to retain his title.  Another 16 months out the octagon followed before Whittaker was able to fight Adesyana, who had just come off a five-round war with would be title challenger Kelvin Gastelum. He proved too much for a rusty Whittaker and got the early stoppage in front of a sold-out stadium in Australia.

Whilst Whittaker has been struggling at the top Cannonier as been making his way up there. Since moving down to middleweight, the ‘Killa Gorilla’ is unbeaten. The 35-year-old has been impressive at 185lbs picking up three consecutive TKO wins. His win streak began win the second-round stoppage of David Branch, before he stopped Anderson Silva with a leg kick and finished top contender Jack Hermansson. A win over a former champion Whittaker would make his calls out a UFC title shot undeniable. This is a true cross roads fight. Will the former champion have what it takes to get another shot? Or will the up-and-coming starlet emerge victorious and announce himself as the next big thing? I guess we’ll find out when these two square off at UFC 248 in March.

Can Robert Whittaker get back to winning ways against Jared Cannonier?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.