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Former UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker is primed to rematch current division kingpin, Israel Adesanya before the close of the year. And following the latter’s recent rematch victory over Marvin Vettori, paired with his March loss to Jan Blachowicz, Whittaker has claimed that the City Kickboxing staple isn’t as good as he believes he is.
Seated as the #1 ranked middleweight contender, Whittaker headlined UFC Vegas 24 in April opposite short-notice replacement, one-time interim title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum, besting the Kings MMA trainee over the course of five rounds in a unanimous decision win.
Following the victory, his third consecutively, Whittaker was reportedly offered a rematch against Adesanya, however, opted against the re-run due to a timeframe issue, and the re-run was subsequently offered to Trento native, Vettori.
Headlining UFC 263 two weeks ago, Adesanya took home a comprehensive unanimous decision (50-45 x3) victory over Vettori, besting the Italian for the second time since April of 2018.
Immediately following the matchup, Adesanya noted his willingness to meet with past-foe, Whittaker next, but claimed that he would pick the date for the rematch, given the fact that he was the “king” — as well as calling for the rematch to take place in Auckland, New Zealand this time.
Reacting to Adesanya’s judging triumph over Vettori in Glendale, Arizona, Whittaker claimed that the Nigerian-Kiwi striker wasn’t untouchable based on his most recent performances this year.
“Watching that fight against (Marvin) Vettori, you can see he’s (Israel Adesanya) not untouchable,” Whittaker said during a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph. “It reinforced the fact that he’s very human. Very touchable. I actually thought his performance was average. Not average in the context of being bad. But he never did anything more than what he had to do.“
“He didn’t do anything flashy,” Whittaker continued. “He didn’t do anything more than necessary. Which is a good approach. But it certainly doesn’t put you in the realm of the Gods… He’s definitely not a God. He’s a very good fighter, sure. But he’s not as good as he thinks he is.“
In response to past-opponent, Whittaker, Adesanya wished him, his “son” as he put it, a Happy Father’s Day, before questioning how good is he, if he’s not considered that good by Whittaker; “If I’m not as good as I think I am, then what does that make you?” Adesanya said. “Happy Father’s Day, son.” (H/T The Mac Life)
Adesanya and Whittaker initially met back in October of 2019 at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia, where then-interim champion, Adesanya unified the middleweight titles with a second round knockout victory over Whittaker.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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