Robert Whittaker withdraws from Jared Cannonier bout in UFC 248

UFC 248 has taken a hit.

Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker announced Wednesday that he has withdrawn from his fight against Jared Cannonier on March 7 in Las Vegas due to undisclosed personal reasons.

"Apologies to all my friends and supporters, but unfortunately I won't be competing on the UFC 248 fight card," Whittaker said in a statement. "There are a few other things going on in my life that I need to give priority to and sort out, so I have had to change my plans. But I'll be back soon, bigger and better than ever! Sorry Jared ... I'll see you down the track."

The UFC is working on finding Cannonier a replacement opponent, sources say, but has not locked one in yet. The hope is to find Cannonier another top contender to fight.

Whittaker (20-5) most recently lost to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 in October, which resulted in his dropping the middleweight strap. The loss snapped his nine-fight winning streak.

Cannonier (13-4) has won three in a row since he dropped to 185 pounds. He most recently beat Jack Hermansson in September.

The event, which is scheduled to take place at T-Mobile Arena, is without a main event. The UFC is hoping to book Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero for the middleweight title but hasn't come to terms with Adesanya yet. Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk for the strawweight title is currently the co-main.