Robert Whittaker is expected to rematch Israel Adesanya following his unanimous decision win over Jared Cannonier at UFC 254, but ‘The Reaper’ isn’t exactly stoked about the matchup.
Whittaker lost his middleweight title to Adesanya at UFC 249 and, although he was knocked out, the New Zealander is adamant that the rematch will play out differently.
“He’s a tough fight, man,” Whittaker said at the UFC 254 post-fight press conference (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA). “I’m not stoked to fight him. He’s a hard fight, he’s so good. And he only looked better in his last fight [laughing]. And the fact that he beat me once already.
“But I feel like I’ve got a couple of 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 heavy or heavyweight. Doesn’t bother me. My plans are Christmas, my baby and hopefully, our timelines line up then.”
The rematch hasn’t been confirmed but Whittaker believes both he and Adesanya are destined to meet again.
“I do want to fight him one day,” he said. “Whether it’s in my career or in the parking lot as two old fellas. I feel like our paths will cross again. As a warrior, it’s something I need to do.
“But I’m not worried about who I fight next. My whole mentality with this game is you line them up, I’ll knock them down — I’m pretty good at that.”
Whittaker bounced back from his KO loss to Adesanya with two straight wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier and is currently #1 in the UFC middleweight rankings.