While many were quick to get excited about the possibility of a fight between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya last week, Robert Whittaker was strangely overlooked.
The discussion mostly occurred before Adesanya’s victory at UFC 236, but Dana White added fuel to the fire afterward by stating:
Even Dana White said: “If Adesanya beats Whittaker and becomes middleweight champion, obviously I’d love to see him and Jon Jones fight.”
Whittaker, the UFC middleweight champion, believes that the ongoing banter between Jones and Israel Adesanya is ‘silly.’
“I think Jon Jones would kill him. I think it’s silly,” Whittaker told Submission Radio.
But Whittaker understands Jones’ position. Widely regarded as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Jones has wins over the three of the top four contenders at light heavyweight. If he defeats Thiago Santos at UFC 239, he’ll have defeated all four.
“He has kind of cleaned out his division,” Whittaker agreed.
“It’s one of those things, we’ll have to wait and see. I’m going to fight Adesanya, and then I’ll be a little free myself. If you’re looking for opponents, that’s a fight. That’s a great fight.”
“I think I could give him a run for his money. I surprise a lot of people; I’m full of tricks. I think the intensity I bring into a fight is something that a lot of people aren’t prepared for. He’s a great fighter; he’s super, super dangerous. I’m under no illusion how hard it would be. I think it would be fun.”
It’s fair to say that Whittaker’s declaration is a remarkable one considering that Whittaker and Jones have only ever been brought up in the same sentence when discussing the top pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts, and not as potential opponents.
When quizzed by the Submission Radio team about whether he felt left out when the conversation of a potential fight between Jones and Adesanya was taking place, Whittaker responded: “I’ve never led them [fans/media] to think I would do something like this or that I was open to the idea.”
“While I was making my run through the middleweight division and fighting in the division, it was very hard for me to plan outside the division. Obviously, all of my focus has been on the division and doing work there and making waves and moves there.”
“But, seeing Jon Jones looking for opponents, the idea of moving up… I don’t hate that idea.”
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.