Abu Dhabi, UAE — Securing his second win of 2020 on Saturday, former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has put himself at the top of the contender list for Israel Adesanya.
It’s a fight that UFC President Dana White believes makes sense, following Whittaker’s domination of fellow contender Jared Cannonier at UFC 254.
Post-fight, Whittaker reflected on his performance, then looked ahead to his return.
“March, April, hopefully,” Whittaker said about when he’d like to fight again. The top middleweight has the holidays to contend with, and a baby on the way. “I don’t want to be thinking about a fight in the lead-up to my newborn. With all my kids, I’ve been thinking about fights, I had my mind elsewhere, and I wasn’t in the moment. And I refuse to do that for this one.”
It’s Israel Adesanya who makes the most sense for his next fight, Whittaker agreed. Putting him and White very much on the same page. “Yeah. He’s a tough fight. I’m stoked to fight him,” said Whittaker. The pair first met a year ago. It was not a good night for Whittaker, to say the least. “He’s a hard fight, he only looked better in his last fight. And the fact he beat me once already. But I feel I’ve got a couple tricks I can roll out. I feel I can play it differently this time. But honestly, I know he’s trying to do everything else, and good on him to do that. I’m not thinking about him.”
“He can go up to light heavyweight, or heavyweight, whatever he wants to do. Doesn’t bother me,” Whittaker added, sounding firm about his timeframe for return. “My plans are Christmas, my baby, and then hopefully our timelines line up.”
Asked if he was annoyed at all by being overlooked in favor of Cannonier ahead of the fight — champ Adesanya seemed to favor that match-up — Whittaker replied “not really. I’m not worried about what other people say, what other people do. I don’t care. If you know, you know. I’ve been in this game a long time. I’ve had a lot of fights, I’ve fought a lot of tough dudes. Guess I still got it.”
Watch the full UFC 254 post-fight press conference with Robert Whittaker above.