Robert Whittaker is fully aware of how tough it is to fight Israel Adesanya.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion just recently picked up a stellar unanimous decision victory over Marvin Vettori in UFC Paris’ co-main event (watch highlights). Earlier this year (Feb. 2022), Whittaker had his shot at redemption against the man who dethroned him, Adesanya.
In their rematch, Whittaker did significantly better than in the first fight, lasting to see a closely contested unanimous decision defeat (watch highlights). Since the Vettori win, Whittaker has garnered praise from fellow fighters like Anthony Smith, who’s declared Whittaker the best and most skilled Middleweight in the world … the only problem is that Adesanya is his worst match up.
“I 100 percent agree with that,” Whittaker told MMA on Sirius XM. “Let me just say thank you to Anthony Smith because that’s a big prop. I really, really appreciate that.
“But definitely,” he continued. “I 100 percent wholeheartedly agree with it. That’s why I mention a lot of times I’m given the microphone, that’s why I’m the most dangerous Middleweight in the world for that reason. (laughs) Smith said it the best, he’s a terrible match up for me and I hate that fight. It is annoying, a super annoying fight to go through but I do truly believe I’m the best Middleweight in the world.”
Whittaker has teased an eventual move to Light Heavyweight at some point if he’s to ever change divisions again. His ultimate goal is still to reclaim the title he once held, however, and depending on how Adesanya’s next bout goes, a trilogy may be something that aligns.
For the champion, Adesanya will have a different type of trilogy in UFC 281’s main event on Nov. 12, 2022. “The Last Stylebender” will have his third overall contest, defending against Alex Pereira, but it will be their first meeting in mixed martial arts (MMA) after the first two fights were kickboxing matches. Pereira won both, first by decision and second by knockout.