UFC Fight Island 3’s Robert Whittaker: Belt Just a Consequence of Winning


Robert Whittaker returns to action this weekend in the main event of UFC Fight Island 3. That will mark the first time the Australian has stepped into the octagon since losing his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya last October.

He was supposed to return in March, of course. A fight with Jared Cannonier was lined up for UFC 248.

He never made it to the date. Whittaker (20-5) pulled out, saying he was simply burned out. Yet he returns this Saturday in a fight against Darren Till that may land him right back in contention for his old title. Assuming that’s the goal.

Speaking to Cageside Press at a virtual media scrum Tuesday, Whittaker suggested it’s not about titles. It’s about fighting, and winning.

“Honestly nothing’s changed with my hunger to fight. My hunger to fight before is the exact same as it is now” the former champion stated. “The belt was always just a consequence of winning. And I want to win, I want to fight.”

Knowing what he knows now, of course, he might do things a little differently as champion. “I would hope so,” Whittaker said. But, he added, that’s neither here nor there. The focus is on Darren Till, rather.

Till has tried, perhaps not as much as usual, to get a rise out of Whittaker ahead of their fight. With virtually no results.

“I don’t pay attention to those things,” Whittaker said simply, asked whether Till had tried any antics online. “I just worry about what I’m doing. I don’t have time for a lot of that stuff. I have a lot of things I’m juggling that I’m really working on at the moment.”

On how he got over his burnout phase, it was “plenty of family time. I took my kids to take care. I picked them up from daycare. Sometimes,” he said with a laugh.

None other than fan favorite Jorge Masvidal has said that Darren Till is the hardest hitter he’s ever faced. But the idea, Whittaker said Tuesday, is to not have that matter. “I think the biggest secret in this game is to not get hit,” he explained. “I’m going to be doing my best to not get hit. The idea is to hit him. That’s my secret game plan, if you’re wondering. I’m going to try to hit him, and not get hit.”

Robert Whittaker meets Darren Till in the main event of UFC Fight Island 3 (UFC on ESPN 14) this Saturday, July 25. The card airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).


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