Cannonier, whom champ Israel Adesanya said would fight him with a win on Saturday, reported a broken arm suffered in the three-round fight that ended with a unanimous decision for Whittaker.
Cannonier released a statement on Instagram, posting a picture of himself with Whittaker after the fight. He is wearing a cast on his left arm.
“That didn’t go exactly how I wanted but my spirits remain high and I’m happy with how I fought all things considered,” he wrote. “The very first kick he threw broke or fractured my left ulna I couldn’t find my grove and adjust quickly to get the W so I’ll take my L with pride. @robwhittakermma certainly lived up to my expectations before and after the fight. Congrats mate. Enjoy Xmas and the new [baby]. It was a hell of an experience to be here. Can’t wait to go again.”
The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for Cannonier, who got his start as a light heavyweight and found success when he tapered down to 185 pounds. His work, which included two high-profile wins over Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson, attracted the attention of Adesanya, who called him out after defending the belt against Paulo Costa this past month at UFC 253.
With Whittaker victorious, UFC President Dana White said a rematch between Adesanya and Whittaker, the man he knocked out to win the belt, is likely the next move in the middleweight division. Whittaker’s decision on Saturday came after he bounced back from his title loss with a decision over Darren Till.