Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will be taking on Paulo Costa at UFC 284 for the organization’s return to Australia on February 12. But even with a tough test ahead of him, “Bobby Knuckles” couldn’t help but fancy the idea of a fight against newly-minted champion Alex Pereira.
Whittaker, in fact, likes his chances against “Poatan,” who stopped Israel Adesanya via fifth-round TKO at UFC 281 on Saturday.
“As I said before, I’m not planning past [Paulo] Costa, but I can say that I think Pereira’s a better matchup for me than Israel,” he said during the recent UFC 284 tickets-on-sale presser (quotes via MMA Fighting).
“Just because of the way he stands and the way he likes to push forward. The way he likes to fight I feel gives me a better edge, but in saying that, did you see the size of the fella? I’m like, why is nobody mentioning that? Dude’s just a giant. He’s an absolute giant.
“I’ve been face-to-face with Israel and it’s surprising to see like, Israel’s pretty big. He looks tall and lanky, but he’s actually a big dude. Then you see Pereira up against him and just his facial features are bigger, feet and hands and forearms are massive.
“I’m just thinking, like, who let this guy in? But still, I think I can take him.”
UFC 284 will be headlined by the lightweight title fight between Islam Makhachev and featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. The co-main event will feature an interim title fight at 145 pounds between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett.