“The Last Stylebender” is the man responsible for taking Whittaker’s strap in 2019 by knockout. “The Reaper” went on to put together a three-fight win streak before challenging Adesanya for his old belt earlier this year. However, Adesanya got his hand raised again, beating Whittaker via unanimous decision in a closely contested bout at UFC 271.
A few weeks back, Whittaker once again placed himself back into the win column. He fought during the promotion’s first event in France and he took a decision over top-ranked middleweight Marvin Vettori.
All in all, Whittaker is 12-2 in the UFC’s 185-pound division, with his only two losses coming at the hands of The Last Stylebender. And MMA analyst and fighter Anthony Smith has gone as far as to say Whittaker is the most well-rounded fighter in the division.
“I don’t disagree,” Smith said during an episode of the “Believe You Me” podcast (h/t Sportskeeda.com.) “I think that Izzy’s [Israel Adesanya’s] the more effective fighter between those two… The link, the reach, the defensive kind of counter style of Izzy… Robert’s always kind of struggled with tall, rangy kind of [fighters]… In that matchup Izzy’s more effective, [but] the more technical, the more well-rounded, the guy that has more weapons and more tools [is] one hundred percent, without a doubt, is Robert Whittaker… He’s [Adesanya’s] very good at what he does, [but] Robert is very good at a lot of different things.”
Whittaker Thanked Smith for the Praise, Agreed That Adesanya Was a Very Difficult Fight for Him
Whittaker has every intention of becoming a UFC champion again, and while on the MMA on Sirius XM show, The Reaper responded to Smith’s comments. In short, Whittaker appreciated the praise from “Lionheart” and also admitted that Adesanya has given him a lot of trouble inside the Octagon.
I 100 percent agree with that,” Whittaker said (h/t MMA Mania). “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 Been Toying With the Idea of Moving Up to Light Heavyweight
Ahead of his fight with Vettori in August, Whittaker hinted that a move up to 205 pounds could be in the cards for him. Whittaker told Submission Radio that light heavyweight would allow him to compete at his more “natural weight” compared to middleweight.
However, he shared with the outlet that the didn’t know if he wanted to “deal with” the height disadvantage he’d be facing fighting bigger men north of 185 pounds. He didn’t commit to an eventual move but said that if he does in the future, he’d take the time to prepare his body for the new division.