Israel Adesanya is not too confident he will be facing Robert Whittaker next.
The pair are slated to face each other in a middleweight title unification clash that is scheduled to take place in Australia for UFC 243 later this year. Adesanya earned the chance to face Whittaker following his interim title win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in April.
Speaking to Submission Radio in a recent interview, “The Last Stylebender” reflected on his back-and-forth war with Gastelum that saw him earn a unanimous decision victory. In particular, he was responding to Whittaker’s assessment of the fight, who noted how Adesanya got hit a lot during the five-round contest.
“Fucking hell, I looked like a fucking potato after that fight,” Adesanya said. “I took some shots. But not once did my ass hit the ground. Kelvin’s ass hit the ground like five or six times, or even seven.
“You can say whatever you want. I just stay calm and composed. I’ve been through a lot of adversity. The way that we train is different. We push to the breaking point but we’re smart about it. That’s why we don’t get hurt and pull out of every single fight.”
Whittaker’s history of injuries
Adesanya, of course, was referring to Whittaker’s recent history of pulling out of fights. “The Reaper” was scheduled to face then-middleweight champion Michael Bisping in 2017, only to be ruled out through injury.
He would later be promoted to unified champion and was set to defend his new title against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 last year. However, injury struck once again. The most recent case was at UFC 234 earlier this year where Whittaker pulled out the night before his title fight with Kelvin Gastelum.
Whittaker’s recent history is one of the reasons why Adesanya is willing to make a wager, which he claimed he would later put up on Twitter.
“I’m going to put a wager out there, see if he makes it to this fight,” Adesanya added. “Because for me, I’m keeping that same energy with the way I train. If he is, is he going to make it to the fight? I’m prepared for him but I don’t know if he’s going to make it to the fight. That’s just the history.”
With the event slated for October 5 and now reportedly scheduled for Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, we’ll just have to wait and see.