Whittaker Looks To Drag Adesanya Into Deep Water
At UFC 236, Israel Adesanya became the interim UFC middleweight champion against Kelvin Gastelum. Watching and waiting was the undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, who was on the mend from emergency hernia surgery.
Now in the biggest combat sports event in the history of Oceania, Australia’s Whittaker battles the adopted son of New Zealand Adesanya at UFC 243.
“If Gastelum can do that much work, I can,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie of Adesanya’s battle against Gastelum. “I like to think I’ve got a better skillset than Gastelum. I think I have a better skillset than Izzy. Let’s just see how it goes.”
“This fight in this atmosphere in this arena with these numbers, one, I’m making history,” Whittaker said with a potential 65,000 people filing into Marvel Stadium on October 5th. “Two, this is a huge milestone for me. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to defend the belt here in Australia, and I’m doing that.”
“I think (Adesanya) is super deadly,” Whittaker said. “I think he’s a very talented and great fighter, but hell, I’m still up-and-coming, you know? I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon.
“Honestly, I am more excited for how I come out of this fight, for the work that I’ll put in after this fight to the fighter that I’m going to become from this fight, because every year, I’m getting better. Every year, I have harder fights, and I’ve got a lot of years left in me.”
“Obviously, I’m not looking past Israel,” Whittaker continued. “He’s a very hard opponent, and honestly, it’s going to be a very hard fight, and I know this. I’ve prepared for this. But, the only sure thing that I know after this fight is that Monday I’m going to go home and see my kids. That’s it.”
“I don’t think he’s going to be able to withstand the heat that I bring – and I’m not looking to finish him; I’m looking to drag this into a five-round war. I’m going to drag him into the trenches.
“I’m going to do what Gastelum did, but better. Let’s see if he wants to leave early.”
Main card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya
Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker
Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergey Spivak
Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima
Justin Tafa vs. Yorgan De Castro
Undercard (ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET)
Jake Matthews vs. Rostem Akman
Callan Potter vs. Maki Pitolo
Jamie Mullarkey vs. Brad Riddell
Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn dos Santos
Undercard (UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. ET)
Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim
Khalid Taha vs. Bruno Silva
Initial Report: MMA Junkie