Rockhold (back) won’t fight Strickland at UFC 268

Sports

Luke Rockhold‘s return to the Octagon will have to wait.

The former UFC middleweight champion said Monday night in an Instagram story that he has a herniated disk and is out of a scheduled fight with Sean Strickland at UFC 268 on Nov. 6 in New York.

It would have been Rockhold’s first bout since July 2019 following more than two years in semi-retirement.

Sources said it’s unclear at this time whether or not Strickland will remain on the card. ESPN has Strickland ranked No. 10 in the world at middleweight.

Rockhold (16-5) has dropped two straight and three of his past four, all losses via KO/TKO. The California native was knocked out by Jan Blachowicz, who is now the UFC light heavyweight champion, in a light heavyweight bout at UFC 239 on July 6, 2019. Rockhold, 36, held the UFC middleweight title in 2015 and 2016. He’s also a professional model with a Ralph Lauren deal.

Strickland (24-3) has won five in a row and is closing in on title contention. The North Carolina native, who fights out of Las Vegas, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Uriah Hall in a UFC Fight Night main event July 31. Strickland, 30, sports an 11-3 UFC record since his debut in 2014.

UFC 268 will be headlined by a welterweight title rematch between champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Colby Covington. In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas defends her UFC women’s strawweight belt against the woman she beat for it, Zhang Weili.

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