The rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker may happen early next year, per UFC president Dana White.
White recently spoke to The Daily Telegraph and revealed that Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 was being targeted for January. It has been difficult to get this fight done as the COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine guidelines in both Australia and New Zealand have delayed the long-awaited rematch, but the promotion has continued to work on it.
White also said that he wanted the second fight to be in the same region as their first fight, but conceded that is unlikely.
“That’s a fight we want to make, so we’re working on it,” said White. “I will get that done. You know what sucks? With everything that’s going on right now, when you think about that fight, that fight should be done over there [in Australia or New Zealand] but that ain’t going to happen.
“Listen, I don’t want to be all cocky and s—t, but we will do everything in our power to get that stuff worked out,” continued White. “That’s what we’re working on. We’re working on January.”
Adesanya and Whittaker met in a title unification fight at UFC 243, where the ‘Last Stylebender’ stopped the ‘Reaper’ by way of second-round knockout. Adesanya went on to defend the title against Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa at UFC 248 and UFC 253 respectively before he made his light heavyweight debut on a quest to become a two-division champion. He suffered the first loss of his professional career as he was defeated by champion Jan Blachowicz via unanimous decision.
Whittaker rebounded from his loss to Adesanya with three consecutive wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum. His most recent appearance cemented his status as the No. 1 contender in the division, which is why he called for another shot at Adesanya.