Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker sees no reason not to remain active.
Whittaker returned to the win column following a unanimous decision win over Darren Till at their UFC Fight Island 3 headliner last month.
With Israel Adesanya expected to defend his title against Paulo Costa at UFC 253 next month, “The Reaper” could have easily just waited to fight the winner. Although it’s not a guarantee, he would have had a strong case too especially after his win over Till.
Instead, Whittaker will face Jared Cannonier at UFC 254 which takes place October 24. With three knockouts in three outings since moving down to middleweight, Cannonier is certainly a dangerous opponent.
However, the Aussie believes he has more than enough in his skillset to come away with the win.
“My thoughts on him are he’s a dangerous guy, like very dangerous,” Whittaker said on SiriusXM Fight Nation. “He’s got knockout power. He’s tough, he’s relentless. He goes forward, just pressures you and beats you up. That’s his whole thing, he’s a real big bully fighter, but he’s resilient to all other angles. You take him down, he gets back up. You try to bang with him, and he out-toughs you, and he’s got heavy leather.
“I guess where I stand on the matter, is that I think I’m just better than him across the board, I think I’m better striking, I think I’m faster, I think I can move faster. I think if I wanted to take it to the ground, I can mix that in and make it a terrible night for him. And I am tough enough, and I have the cardio to go the entire distance, to drag it out, to make it a war of attrition with him. I think I can take this fight to a place that will make him very, very uncomfortable.”
So why did Whittaker choose to compete again in three months?
Simply because after three fights since the start of 2018, he wants to become an active fighter again.
“I’m done waiting,” he added. “I’m done having such long periods of time before fights.
“For one, it’s my trade, it’s what I do to make a living. To be honest, it’s not a bad job. Two, I enjoy fighting. That’s what I enjoy doing. I’m good right now, I’m healthy. Why shouldn’t I fight again? I have nothing planned for October.”
📽️ "I think I can take this fight to a place that will make him very, very uncomfortable," @robwhittakermma discusses his upcoming fight with Jared Cannonier and explains why he took this bout instead of waiting for a title shot. 👊@RyanMcKinnell @MieshaTate pic.twitter.com/688URzV7AM
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) August 5, 2020
UFC 254 will be headlined by a lightweight title unification fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.