Since being promoted from interim champ to official UFC middleweight champion after Georges St-Pierre voluntarily relinquished the title in 2017, Robert Whittaker hasn’t actually defended his belt.
‘The Reaper’ did go on to beat Yoel Romero in a Fight of the Year (2018) epic at UFC 225, but that didn’t count as an official title defense due to ‘Soldier of God’ missing weight.
Couple that with a string of injuries and illnesses that have led to fight cancellations and general inactivity inside the Octagon and Whittaker is now officially the longest-reigning champion without a title defense to his name, breaking an unwanted UFC record formerly held by ex-featherweight and lightweight champ Conor McGregor.
Fansided reports that Whitaker has gone a whopping 512 days — that’s almost two years — without defending his middleweight title, but The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes winner will look break that streak when he takes on Israel Adesanya in a proposed title unification bout later this year.
No date or venue has been announced for the bout, but Whittaker wants to fight ‘The Last Stylebender’ on the same pay-per-view as Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier, preferably in his hometown of Sydney, Australia.
Adesanya became interim champ when he beat Kelvin Gastelum in a five-round war at UFC 236, and the former kickboxing champ has frequently criticized Whittaker for his inactivity as champion.