Israel Adesanya respects Robert Whittaker as a fighter but has no desire to run it back with ‘The Reaper’ for a third time.
Adesanya is 2-0 over Whittaker, with their most recent outing at UFC 271 going to a decision. Before that, ‘The Last Stylebender’ knocked out ‘Bobby Knuckles’ at UFC 243 to win the middleweight title.
Adesanya admits Whittaker is a great fighter but is ready to close the book on their rivalry and welcome some fresh competition to the game.
That’s why the reigning middleweight champion is excited about defending his title against someone he’s never fought before in Jared Cannonier at UFC 276.
“He’s a great fighter,” Adesanya said of Whittaker at a UFC press conference in Australia earlier this week (h/t MMA Fighting). “I’ll give it to him, he’s a great fighter, but I know how that book ends. I’ve read that book twice already. First time was a quick read, second time was a little bit longer. He’s probably going to be at the top for a little while longer, but if we fight again, I know how that book ends. That’s why I’m excited about this next fight, some new blood, someone I’ve never fought before.
“If he wants, he should go up to 205, see what that’s about. Maybe try that for a little bit. But yeah, I’ve read that book already, and I don’t like reading the same book over and over again.”
Adesanya can’t wait to fight Cannonier but believes ‘The Killa Gorilla’ will be one of his easiest opponents to date.
“I don’t believe [Cannonier is my toughest opponent],” Adesanya said. “That’s my first inkling, but it doesn’t mean I underestimate him. Everyone is a tough challenger. He’s a guy that packs a lot. ... He still carries that strength around, so I can’t overlook him, but I don’t think he’ll be the toughest challenge. I honestly think I’ll make this easy. I really believe I will make this look easy.”
UFC 276: Adesanya vs. Cannonier takes place July 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.