Former middleweight titleholder Robert Whittaker has now made it clear, that he wants to fight his old foe, current 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya. The pair first met at UFC 243 in October 2019 in Melbourne, where the latter won the fight by knockout in the second round and claimed the belt.
Whittaker was in action a bit over a week ago on Fight Island, where he scored a unanimous decision against Jared Cannonier and secured the second win in a row (video highlights here). After the event UFC President Dana White told reporters that the Whittaker vs Adesanya rematch was “very appealing” and that it “was the fight that made sense”.
The NZ-born representative of Australia told reporters he wanted to face the Nigeria-born representative of New Zealand in the rematch. However – first things first – Whittaker outlined his next course of action, which includes Christmas and the new-born baby in January. The second clash with Adesanya would be in March or April (more in this here).
At the UFC Vegas 12 post-fight press conference, Dana White said that Adesanya was given a green light to move up a weight class to face the newly-crowned light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. As for Whittaker’s statements at the presser a week earlier, he called it “the craziest s**t” he’d ever seen.
“I was like, ‘I’m going to have to sit down with this kid [Adesanya] and convince him on why he needs to fight Whittaker,'” White said. “Whittaker comes out and says he doesn’t want to fight him – craziest s**t I’ve ever seen. So, yeah, there is no argument with Israel now. I thought Whittaker deserved the shot and Whittaker doesn’t want it. So yeah, we’ll let him do it [Adesanya move up weight class and fight Blachowicz).”
In the recent interview released by MMA Junkie today Whittaker said his words at the Fight Island’s presser got either misinterpreted or twisted. He didn’t get upset by what White said – “more confused”.
“With the twist on words a little bit, it was confusing,” Whittaker said. “It was a little annoying, but it is what it is. Can’t change anything now. It’s not something I can be upset about, because it is what it is. I’m more confused. That would be the biggest emotion I have right now – like, confused. I wish the open dialogue was there, I wish the communication was there because I’m pretty easy to work with. What’s been done has been done.”
“My timeline stands,” Whittaker confirmed. “I am going to look at fighting Izzy, whether it’s at light heavyweight or middleweight, early next year. We’ll have to wait and see how the dice roll.”