Whittaker Did Not Like Being Champion
Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker’s run was one that had its share of joy and frustration, and now he’s opened up on how he felt carrying the “burden” of being champion.
“I didn’t really like it that much,” Whittaker told Ariel Helwani. “It’s one of those things that, it comes with some pros, but the cons really starting distracting me. There’s a lot of media, a lot of expectations and a lot of self-imposed pressure. It didn’t agree with me super-well,” Whittaker boldly admitted.
“I’ve always been the sort of guy who just likes to fight. I like the challenge, I like the next opponent. I like to work at just how am going to beat you. Another thing is, I love being the underdog. I love people just writing me off like, ‘You’re going to lose.’ I love the struggle.”
Whittaker, who lost the title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 via knockout had a caustic run as champion which included Yoel Romero missing weight, while Whittaker had to pull the day of his defense against Kelvin Gastelum due to emergency hernia surgery.
“The biggest thing for me is that even though my journey in the division, that was never the objective. The title was never the objective, it was a result of,” Whittaker added.
“I just focused one one fight after the next after the next. And I just enjoyed it, loved doing it. I am now hungrier than ever, honestly I can say that. I am excited for the next fight and I am excited for what the future brings for next year. And I just can’t wait to get back in there.”