Robert Whittaker was caught off guard by UFC chairman Dana White’s statement that he did not want a rematch with Israel Adesanya.
Just a week after White said that Whittaker (22-5 MMA, 13-3 UFC) vs Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) was a “very exciting” match, he changed course. and announced the defending mid-tier champion would instead move to light heavy for a super battle with owner Jan Blachowicz.
According to White, he has considered the championship and championship match since Whittaker was not interested in the rematch with Adesanya.
“I said,” I’ll have to sit down with this kid (Adesanya) and convince him why he needs to fight Whittaker, “White told post-UFC reporters on ESPN + 39 at the end. last week. “Whittaker came out and said he didn̵7;t want to fight him – the craziest (blunt) I’ve ever seen. … I think Whittaker deserved that shot and Whittaker didn’t want it, so yes, we will let (Adesanya go forward). “
Since Whittaker lost to TKO in the second round to Adesanya at UFC 243 in October 2019, he has won against Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. After defeating the second person at UFC 254 on October 24, Whittaker said the rematch was a priority, but he wouldn’t go out on the character and talk trash or boisterous to get it.
Whittaker said White appeared to have made the wrong comment and made it clear that he is keen to share the octagon with Adesanya again – maybe 185 or 205 pounds.
“I definitely think he has changed a bit from what I said,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie on Monday. “I never said I didn’t want to fight Izzy. That’s not what I said. I didn’t say that. I’m looking to fight March, April next year. I want to fight Izzy. If Izzy goes up to fight Jan, then I will go and fight him there if he wins. I want that war. I want that war. We just have to work with that timeline.
“I have no control over what UFC will do or what Izzy will do, but whether he is here in mid or light heavy, I will fight him.”
Whittaker, who didn’t want to fight before March because he was expected to have a next child in January, said he was never contacted directly by the UFC regarding a rematch with Adesanya.
He said he wasn’t necessarily shocked when the UFC put Adesanya and Blachowicz together, but his exclusion in the process of achieving that was what stuck Whittaker.
“They never contacted me – not once,” said Whittaker. “The fact that Izzy vs Jan doesn’t have too many problems. I can understand why they want to do it, why Izzy wants to do it, why the UFC wants it. I can see what happened. It was the change or the way he obeyed me. Either he misinterpreted it or twisted it a bit. That took me a bit. But like I said, my timeline still stands. It was a fight I earned. “
Whittaker made it clear that he wasn’t clearly annoyed with UFC or White. He doesn’t think how the timeline is fair to his position, but Whittaker says he knows what it’s done.
“With a slight change of wording, it’s hard to understand,” said Whittaker. “It is a bit annoying, but it is what it is. Can’t change anything now. … That’s not something I could be upset with, because it is. I am more confused. That would be the biggest emotion I have right now – like, confused. I wish for the open dialogue there, I wish there was communication because I am pretty easy to work with. What has been done has been done. My timeline is still there, I will consider playing against Izzy whether light or medium heavy, early next year. We’ll have to see how the dice roll. “
Whittaker is adamant that no other game is of interest to him but Adesanya at the moment. He denied Paulo Costa’s repeated reminders and said that fighting back to the rankings again was unattractive after doing it twice with Till and Cannonier.
Rematching with Adesanya was the only option on Whittaker’s mind, and he said that he is ready to have Blachowicz’s bout before he returns to the octagon.
“It depends on what the department is doing or how the UFC will approach the department with Izzy moving forward,” Whittaker said. “It’s hard to say (what will happen). It is currently unclear in which direction the UFC will drive the split and Izzy. Obviously, Izzy was going to fight Jan, then I guess I’ll just wait to attack the winner or loser of that fight because it’s a fight I’ve earned with my job. “
If Adesanya becomes the dual champion, Whittaker said the idea of gaining 205 pounds would not be a joke. He wants a chance to regain his only loss over the past six years and is convinced that it will be a different story from the first meeting.
“I will definitely have to enter that war with a different strategy and game plan,” Whittaker said. “I can’t enter a game with the same attitude and think I’ll get a different result. I have a good team around me. When I enter that war with knowledge of the last war and how it was built up until now, as well as seeing his last battles, he will be a tough one. . He will be a tough fight. He will go in very confidently – very, very confidently. He’s a dangerous fight. But I can still have a trick or two in my sleeve. “