UFC: Israel Adesanya Recounts First Staredown with Robert Whittaker

Israel Adesanya is predicting his middleweight title unification bout with Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 could be a knockout of the year candidate, and he’s hoping Whittaker tries to make it a quick finish.

Las Vegas, NV — Israel Adesanya will face off with Robert Whittaker later this year at UFC 243, in a middleweight title unification bout. But at the UFC Summer Press conference on Friday, Adesanya faced off, on stage, with Whittaker for the first time.

Later that night, at the UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Cageside Press caught up with ‘The Last Stylebender,’ who told us what he saw in Whittaker’s eyes in their first face-off.

“He looked like a meth head,” Adesanya quipped. Maybe not the response many would expect, but then again, he’s proven to have a certain way with words. “Just like real intense. Stale, but intense. Like a crackhead.”

While a lot of people see Whittaker vs. Adesanya as a Fight of the Year candidate, Adesanya himself says that “I think it might be knockout of the year. I don’t think it’s going to be fight of the year. My last fight would be the fight of the year so far for myself, because I’m biased. Also it’s a great fight, like a f*cking movie.”

That fight, of course, was his battle with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236. No question a highly entertaining bout, and one that earned him the interim title and a crack at Whittaker.

“I think with Rob, he wants to make it quick, he says he’s going to make it quick,” Adesanya said of the champ. “And I want him to.”

“You saw how he was with [Derek] Brunson. I really want to try and make it quick, and I’ll show him what’s up.” Whittaker finished off Brunson with a head kick back in 2016, but that doesn’t seem to phase Adesanya any.

As for the coolest moment in his career to date, “so far, fighting Anderson Silva. That was really cool. That was a really cool display of martial arts skills.” And Adesanya has no time for those who weren’t entertained by the bout.

“It was a battle of the brains, and those without brains can’t really understand what we’re doing in there.”