Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has set the record straight about rematching Israel Adesanya. “The Last Stylebender” took Whittaker’s strap in October 2019 and since then, “The Reaper” has won two fights in a row.
Whittaker’s last victory came on October 24 when he defeated Jared Cannonier in the co-main event of UFC 254. With the win, it appeared that Whittaker had earned a shot at recapturing his middleweight strap and avenging his loss to Adesanya. UFC president Dana White also expressed interest in setting up that fight.
On Saturday, however, White told the media that The Last Stylebender will be moving up to 205 pounds for his next fight to compete against light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. The promotion’s president said that The Reaper didn’t want to fight Adesanya.
Speaking with MMA Junkie on Monday, Whittaker confirmed that he wants to fight Adesanya, but not until March or April because he is having a baby in January.
“I certainly think he took a little twist to what I said. I never said I don’t want to fight Izzy,” Whittaker said via MMA Junkie. “That’s not something I said. I did not say that. I’m looking to fight March, April next year. I would like to fight Izzy. If Izzy’s moving up to fight Jan, then I’ll move up and fight him there if he gets the win. I want that fight. I do want that fight. We just had to work it into that timeline.
“I have no control on what the UFC’s going to do or what Izzy’s going to do, but whether he’s here at middleweight or up at light heavyweight, I’ll take the fight him.”
Whittaker confirmed to the outlet that because he feels like he has earned a shot at the title, he is willing to wait until Adesanya and Blachowicz fight before entering the Octagon again.
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Whittaker Says the UFC Never Reached Out to Him About the Rematch With Adesanya
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Finally back home. Jobs done! Thank you to my team! My entire team back at @graciejiujitsusmeatongrange for getting me prepared and ready. Coaches @alexprates07 , @standstrongboxingcoachjustin , @andrew_kanatli , @charliebechwaty and @justinlang_ep for the diligent work and flawless gameplan. My management team @rivalsportsmanagement . All my long time sponsors @musashinutrition , @bethesda_anz , @kaplan_homes , @sweatcentral , @athletesnutrition_au , @omenbyhp and @samsungau . Massive Thank you to the @ufc for the opportunity to be able to do what I was made to do! @killagorillamma for the tough fight which will leave a lasting impression on me as an athlete and a man. Finally to all my loving and supportive fans that have been there since day 1 and didn't budge. Love you guys and couldn't have done it without all of you! Ps special thanks to my wife @sofiamareewhittaker for everything and my father @menaijack , and mother in law @melina.iannelli.3 for holding down the fort and keeping my 3 crazies entertained hahah. Christmas time baby. #onwardsandupwards #teamwhittaker #reapernation #oneteamonedream
The former middleweight champion told the outlet that the UFC never reached out to him about fighting The Last Stylebender. He believes he has earned the rematch but isn’t surprised that the UFC is going the route of Adesanya vs. Blachowicz. Adesanya is one of the UFC’s fastest rising stars and he has a chance to become the promotion’s next double-champ.
“They never reached out to me – not once,” Whittaker said via MMA Junkie. “It wasn’t so much of a twist of Izzy fighting Jan. I can see why they would want to do that, why Izzy would want to do that, why the UFC would want it. I can see that happening. It’s more the twist or how he took my words. Either he misinterpreted it or twisted it a little bit. That one took me for a little bit of a ride. But like I said, my timeline stands. That is the fight that I’ve earned.”
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Whittaker Has Accepted the UFC’s Decision to Pursue Adesanya vs. Blachowicz
Whittaker said that although the situation “was a little annoying,” he has accepted that Adesanya will fight Blachowicz next. He is also willing to move up to light heavyweight to fight him.
“With the twist on words a little bit, it was confusing,” Whittaker continued. “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, I’m going to look at fighting Izzy whether it’s at light heavyweight or middleweight, early next year. We’ll have to see how the dice roll.”