Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya is guaranteed to be the biggest Australasian MMA fight of all time. However, the middleweight champion also guarantees it will be a one-sided contest.
Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum took part in a back-and-forth war at UFC 236 with multiple moments where the fight looked like it would be stopped. In the end, “The Last Stylebender” came out on top, winning via unanimous decision to become the new interim middleweight champion.
The tension between him and Whittaker has already started to increase as the Australia-New Zealand region gears up for a huge title fight. “The Reaper” made his thoughts clear about Adesanya soon after, and still maintains the new interim middleweight champion is not as good as he thinks he is.
“Nothing new at all,” Whittaker told Submission Radio when asked if he learned anything new about Adesanya. “I feel like that fight showed exactly what I’ve been saying the whole time. I think he’s great, but he doesn’t like getting hit, he doesn’t look good going backward, and I don’t think he is as good as he thinks he is.”
“It was a great fight. He showed a lot of heart, and technically he was amazing. But he got hit, and he got hurt. And if Gastelum can hit and hurt him, I can hit and hurt him.”
That doesn’t mean Adesanya will be an easy fight for Whittaker. However, stylistically, it favors him more than the Gastelum matchup.
“Definitely. I’m not saying that Adesanya is an easy fight for me, I just think stylistically he matches up better with my own style. Stylistically, I always wanted to fight Adesanya. Gastelum… He’s a keg. When I was watching him fight Adesanya, that’s the fight I was expecting when I was going to fight Gastelum. That’s the fight I had prepped for 12 weeks and that’s the fight I had in mind when I was almost going to fight him in Melbourne. I’m very happy that Adesanya had that fight.”
Whittaker is not one to predict how fights will go, which made it all the more uncharacteristic and interesting that he did so for his next fight.
“It won’t be a war. Not with me and him. It’s going to be short and sweet, trust me. I guarantee you [it will be one-sided.]”