Paris, France – Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker came into UFC Paris fight week saying that his calendar only went to Saturday night. Following his win over Marvin Vettori in the co-main event at Accor Arena his calendar opened up quite a bit.
Whittaker (24-6) took on Vettori in a matchup of two men who have lost in their bid to defeat Adesanya for the title.
“I think I let the feeling out process go on a little too long in the first round. Started a little slow than I probably would have liked in hindsight. After I gaged the space, controlled it, worked out his range, yeah I went to work,” Whittaker told Cageside Press among other media at his post-fight scrum.
Whittaker is ranked #1 in the middleweight rankings, but he’s lost to the champion twice now. Earning a third shot at Adesanya will be tough to pull off, but Whittaker knows there’s a path to the trilogy.
“I hear there’s rumors of an Australia card. I would love to fight in my backyard. I think that’s the next move for me,” he said.
“As for who I’m fighting….I’m a fiend for progress. I want to go forward. I’m hunting that gold still so I’m always going to be looking around just destroying whoever they put in front of me until I get a chance at gobble up that gold.”
Suffering two losses to the current champion is not an easy thing to come back from specially knowing how hard it will be to get a third shot at the same title held by the same champion.
“Honestly by the end of a camp, when I’ve give everything to the camp and the coaches have given everything to the camp, you have to fight. You want to fight because otherwise all that work is for nothing. There’s no way to gage what does work, what does not work, what gets better, what doesn’t,” Whittaker said.
“This is my craft. This is what I was born to do. I’m pretty sure I could take five years off doing absolutely nothing, you put me in a cage with someone, I’m going to throw.”
One tiny caveat to a plan for a third matchup with Adesanya is the champion’s next title bout which is against Alex Pereira who he lost to twice in kickboxing.
“(Adesanya) he’s very good. I think he’s very good. His style of fighting, he’s a very good defensive striker, and he has the physical attributes to do it as well as the talent in the craft. He’s just good at what he does. He can avoid danger like nobody’s business. That makes him hard to dethrone specially if you go to the points,” said Whittaker.
“He’s just very hard to dethrone. I think Pereira, it’s going to be interesting because they’ve fought before, and the small gloves adds an element that was different in their kickboxing fight as well as Pereira is huge. He’s got the range and the reach and he’s very offensive with it. Small gloves change things. You see it every night. The small gloves changes fights.”
Watch the entire post-fight scrum with Robert Whittaker above.