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Robert Whittaker: I’m going to retire as soon as I ‘start getting knocked out’

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“If I start getting knocked out and start losing, my health comes first – I’m gonna just bow out.”

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UFC 254: Whittaker v Cannonier Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Robert Whittaker still has a long career ahead of him but the 29-year-old has no plans to stick around if he starts racking up the losses and getting knocked out in back-to-back fights.

Whittaker recently gave his take on Anderson Silva’s knockout loss to Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 12 and, as much as he respects the Brazilian, ‘The Reaper’ can’t understand why, at 45-years-old, Silva even accepted the fight in the first place.

“You can see that his timing is half a second off, he can’t take the shots like he could when he was younger, he doesn’t hit quite as hard,” Whittaker told MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck in a recent interview. “Anderson Silva back in his prime, he couldn’t get touched, and when he got touched he shrugged off everything. He was unstoppable, he was uncanny, but it required the perfect balance of youth and physical attributes and talent. Whereas now he’s experienced and the talent is obviously there, that’s why he’s still competitive, that’s why he’s still doing so well, but his youth and his physical attributes have declined a little bit. When you’re fighting top-caliber dudes, top-tier guys, like young, hungry, physical guys – look at the specimen of Uriah Hall. You’re fighting a dude that’s in the prime of his physical abilities and with the talent to go with it, it’s just scary.”

“Hell no,” Whittaker said when asked if he would still be fighting in his forties. “This game is stressful. That’s another thing, these guys that fight throughout their late 30s, early 40s, this game never gets easier. Every fight, never gets easier. The stresses and the nerves are always there. Like, always. I don’t know why they just keep throwing themselves into this game. It is crazy, in my opinion.”

As much as Whittaker enjoys MMA, the former UFC middleweight champion prioritises his own health above everything else and plans to retire with his health still intact.

“I have a soft cap, and I’m obviously going to go on how my body feels, but if I start getting knocked out and start losing, my health comes first – I’m gonna just bow out.”

Whittaker earned a unanimous decision win over Jared Cannonier at UFC 254 and is gunning for a rematch with Israel Adesanya, the current UFC middleweight champion.