UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker are slated to resume their hostilities at UFC 271 next weekend. The first time they faced each other was in 2019. In that duel, Adesanya scored a TKO victory and, with it, took the title from Whittaker.
Both men have had a number of contests since then. Adesanya has stayed perfect at middleweight, defending the title against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori. He also challenged for the UFC light heavyweight title, but came up short against then-champ Jan Blachowicz.
Since his loss to Adesanya, Whittaker has gone 3-0 with unanimous decisions over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum.
There hasn’t been a lot of trash talk around this fight. There rarely is when Whittaker competes. The Aussie-Kiwi has found popularity with the fanbase for his low-profile and seeming disinterest in the theatre that revolves around the fight-game.
However, recently Adesanya tried to get something going on The MMA Hour. There he told host Ariel Helwani that Whittaker let his ego get out of hand in their first fight. He also said that Whittaker is not the “good guy” that people think he is.
Whittaker addressed those comments in an interview with sportskeeda’s James Lynch.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s like, don’t get ego and egotistical mixed up, right? Like, I think ego; every fighter has ego. And it’s like, I’m not pretending to be anything that I’m not. I think he’s getting confused of the difference there, but it doesn’t bother me. Like, people know who I am. By now, people would’ve seen a mask if I was wearing one. Don’t have a mask. I’m very proud of my skill-set and how good I am. Oh, he’s definitely confused. But it could be gamesmanship. Who knows?”
Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 is set to headline UFC 271. The event is scheduled to take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. The co-main for the event is Derrick Lewis vs. Tai Tuivasa. Also featured on the card is Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson.