Robert Whittaker Had To ‘Step Away’ From Fighting After Loss To Israel Adesanya

Robert Whittaker had to take time to reevaluate.

Whittaker said he was forced to take the fight against Israel Adesanya when he was not ready for it. After that loss, he stepped away from the fight, rethinking his life, and getting hungry again.

“I guess that was the hardest thing, I had to take a step left of fighting with the full knowledge that I might never come back it,” he told ESPN. “And it’s daunting, because let me tell you I’m not very good at much else! So to leave that avenue of fighting, it was very daunting.

“But if you don’t completely commit to the process, I feel you don’t truly go on that journey, you’re dragging your feet if you will. But I’m not a guru or a psychologist by any means, this is just what I did and worked through. But it turned out alright, fortunately enough.”

However, after suffering that loss, he earned three victories in a row against the division’s top contenders.

“The emotions of that fight, post-fight, were a bit of a roller coaster,” he explains. “To strip it all back, I had to step away from fighting, which I did, I stepped away from fighting, I stepped away from training.

“But then I started adding things that I wanted to do, that I felt like I wanted to do, and in doing that I just ended up adding a little bit, little bit… showing up at the gym, ending up back at the gym, training because I wanted to do, having that hunger, wanting to fight, wanting to diet, wanting to [weight] cut, wanting to get fit.

“And before long, I found myself back in the gym preparing for another fight.”

The hardest fight for Whittaker was his first fight after the loss. He shared the octagon with English star Darren Till, and they held the war for all five rounds.

“But I took the leap and it was a hard fight [against Till]; he’s a very good striker, he’s a very good fighter, and I had a hard-fought win,” Whittaker said.

His latest battle against Kelvin Gastelum was where he felt his confidence increased significantly.

“I just feel like that last fight boosted my confidence in my skill set, my abilities, what I could do inside the Octagon, and I showed more of my arsenal. And you’ve got to be happy with it,” he added.

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