Paris, France — UFC Paris middleweight Marvin Vettori was certainly critical of co-main event opponent Robert Whittaker during Thursday’s media day promoting the event.
Then again, “The Italian Dream” was critical of nearly every name thrown his way.
Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press, Vettori (18-5-1) suggested that former 185lb champ Whittaker was not evolving.
“He’s definitely very good, but with that being said, he’s the same fighter that he was a year ago. He really is the same fighter that he was in his last fight,” Vettori opined. “I’m not. I keep improving, I’m more hungry. I’m on my way up, I don’t believe he is. That’s the biggest difference there.”
Vettori believes he’ll have the edge in the grappling department, and will be able to dictate the fight anywhere else. “He can’t grapple with me. He can’t grapple and be successful with me. He just can’t. He’ll try, and I’ll welcome it if he does, but he really can’t. I can, and I can do anything in that fight, and I will. Because it’s MMA at the end of the day.”
Ultimately, the Italian fighter sees the match-up as a favorable one for himself, and a distinctly poor one for “The Reaper.”
“I think I match up very bad for him. My skills match up, for myself, very well against him. The way that I fight will drain him, will make him do mistakes, and I’ll capitalize on those.”
Whittaker was far from Vettori’s only target on Wednesday. Asked about Israel Adesanya’s performance against Jared Cannonier at UFC 276, Vettori pulled no punches, scoring the fight “Zero.”
“He’s delusional. Sh*t. People left before the fight finished. I was there,” Vettori, who has twice lost to Adesanya, exclaimed. “Bullsh*t. Came out doing that thing [the Undertaker walkout]. He did the same thing with me, come out with the Samurai thing, ‘oh I’m going to [get] revenge, do it for my friend’ — he didn’t do nothing. He didn’t do nothing. It’s over.”
Another name Vettori had some harsh words for was Darren Till. When the fight with Whittaker, originally scheduled for UFC 275 back in June, initially fell through, Vettori called out opponents left right and center just to stay on the card — thought he never did land one.
“I was just calling out everybody, but I don’t think I ever even called out Darren Till. He’s actually completely irrelevant at this point I think in the division. He’s literally zero. Delusional also,” Vettori stated. “How are we even talking about him? We can just talk about him because he’s helping Khamzat [Chimaev] getting ready, but he hasn’t been fighting in a long time. He’s done. I don’t think, to be honest, he’s ever going to come back with any decent opponent.”
Chimaev was one of the few names (Alex Pereira was another) Vettori wasn’t critical of on Thursday. “With Khamzat, yeah man, I would love to fight him. Later on, for sure. Let’s see if he stays down, if he comes up. But yeah for sure, Khamzat, that’s a fight that excites me too.”
Watch the full UFC Paris media day appearance by Marvin Vettori above. The event takes place this Saturday, September 3, 2022 at the Accor Arena in Paris, France.