UFC’s Adesanya Floats Division Switch for Whittaker: “Go Up to 205, See What That’s About”

Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker, UFC
Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker, UFC 271 pre-fight press conference Credit: Dave Noseworthy/Cageside Press

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes a change in weight class would be wise for ex-champ Robert Whittaker.

New Zealand’s Adesanya (22-1) was on hand for a press conference in Sydney, Australia on June 21, promoting his upcoming UFC 276 fight against Jared Cannonier.

“The Last Style Bender” will be looking to defend his title for the fifth time, and while Cannonier is the next man in line, it seems as if “Bobby Knuckles” is never far from contention. Not surprisingly, Adesanya fielded a question about a Whittaker trilogy at the presser, despite already having defeated his rival twice before.

“Bobby. He’s a great fighter. I’ll give it to him, he’s a great fighter. But I know how that book ends,” Adesanya said when asked about the possibility of fighting Whittaker for the third time. The pair first met in 2019, when Adesanya knocked out Whittaker to win the middleweight title. The rematch earlier this year went the distance, but Adesanya again walked away victorious.

“I’ve read that book twice already. First time was a quick read, second time a little bit longer, but I mean, he’s probably going to be at the top for a while. But if we fight again, I know how that book ends.”

“That’s why I’m excited about this next fight,” Adesanya continued. “Some new blood, someone I’ve never fought before.”

As for Whittaker, the middleweight champ added that “if he wants, he should go up to 205, see what that’s about. Maybe try that for a little bit. But yeah, I’ve read that book already, and I don’t like reading the same book over and over again.”

Adesanya himself made the move to light heavyweight last year, challenging then-champ Jan Blachowicz in an attempt at a second title. The gamble didn’t pay off, as Adesanya suffered the first defeat of his mixed martial arts career.

Since that foray to 205, Adesanya has defended his middleweight title twice, against Marvin Vettori and Whittaker.

UFC 276 takes place Saturday, July 2, 2022 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. A featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway serves as co-headliner, with that pair meeting for the third time.


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