A back injury has forced him out of his upcoming matchup against Sean Strickland on Nov. 6 as he first revealed in a video posted to his Instagram account on Monday.
“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, and the docs say it’s nothing I can play with. I need to do some treatment with some recovery time.
“Some things just aren’t meant to be. New York, motherf*cking New York. Sorry to the friends and the family and the peeps and all the people but we’ll be back. Till next time.”
Multiple sources close to the situation also confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Monday with Rockhold notifying the UFC last week that he would be unable to compete on Nov. 6.
The date was supposed to serve as Rockhold’s first appearance in the UFC since 2019 when he suffered a knockout loss to future light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
The fight scheduled at UFC 268 would have been Rockhold’s return to 185 pounds where he previously reigned as champion after winning the belt back in 2015.
Unfortunately, Rockhold fell on harder times after becoming champion with a 1-3 record in his next four fights including a loss to Michael Bisping that cost him the middleweight title.
As for Strickland, he’s still awaiting word on a potential replacement, although options are limited with the card only a few weeks away at this point. Almost every top ranked middleweight is already booked right now but sources say no official offer has been made on a replacement as of yet.