Robert Whittaker is 0-2 against Israel Adesanya, but the ‘Reaper’ believes a trilogy with ‘The Last Stylebender’ could still happen.
Whittaker returns to the Octagon against Marvin Vettori at UFC Paris in his first fight since losing to Adesanya at UFC 271 this past February. Despite now losing twice to the reigning UFC middleweight champion, Whittaker is confident that a win over Vettori would not only solidify his status as No. 1 contender, but also earn him another championship opportunity opposite of Adesanya should he defeat Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 in July.
It is a similar situation to that of Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway, who are fighting for the third time despite ‘Blessed’ being 0-2 against ‘The Great’ in their featherweight championship fights. Seeing Volkanovski vs. Holloway 3 scheduled lent credence to Whittaker and his belief that a third fight with Adesanya is not outside the realm of possibility.
“I definitely think a trilogy is possible primarily because of the Holloway-Volkanovski trilogy fight going ahead,” said Whittaker to Ronny Lerner of Fox Sports Australia. “Especially considering how close my fight was with Izzy last time, I definitely think that is a very real possibility.”
The rematch was indeed close, but Whittaker ultimately fell to Adesanya via unanimous decision. Though sure he did enough to win, the 31-year-old explained during his post-fight press conference that he had no issue with fighting his way into contention again.
“A third fight between me and Izzy is inevitable because I’m going to stomp anyone that comes in front of me again,” said Whittaker. “He knows that too that’s why he said he’ll be seeing me in the future. I don’t see him losing the belt any time soon. He is good. He is good. I think I’m the person to beat him. And my mission stays the same, beat the next guy in front of me.”
Next in front of him is Vettori, one of the toughest fighters in the division. Whittaker knows what the ‘Italian Dream’ is capable of but expects to leave the cage with a win.
“I think I’m going to be too much for him, honestly,” said Whittaker. “I feel a lot better than he is across the board. Granted, he’s very tough, but I’ve fought tough people before and dismantled them.
“The best Rob Whittaker beats anybody,” continued Whittaker. “I’m going to just hit him a lot and just hurt him...he won’t be able to keep the tempo up, he’s not going to be able to handle it.”
UFC Paris is set for Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Accor Arena.