UFC president Dana White has made it clear that Robert Whittaker will have to fight someone else before getting another title shot.
There’s a lot of questions being asked about what will happen with the middleweight division as 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya moves up to light heavyweight to challenge 205-pound champ Jan Blachowicz in March. Adesanya did a pretty good job of stomping down on the middleweight top five before turning his sights upwards. There was talk of Jared Cannonier being a solid contender for Izzy, but then Robert Whittaker slapped him back down at UFC 254. That briefly had UFC president Dana White stumping for Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 on the strength of the interest it would generate in Australia / New Zealand.
Whittaker (22-5 MMA, 13-3 UFC), a former champion in the 185-pound division, has said he thinks he’s done enough to get a rematch with reigning titleholder Israel Adesanya. Since dropping the strap by second-round knockout at UFC 243 in October 2019, he’s picked up wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.
After beating Cannonier at UFC 254 in October, Whittaker said he wanted to run it back with Adesanya but first wanted to take a short break so he could witness and enjoy the birth of his next child. This prompted UFC president Dana White to claim he didn’t want the rematch, which irked Whittaker.
“I certainly think he took a little twist to what I said,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie in early November. “I never said I don’t want to fight Izzy. That’s not something I said. I did not say that. I’m looking to fight March, April (2021). I would like to fight Izzy. … I want that fight. I do want that fight. We just had to work it into that timeline.”
Dana White talks about what’s next for Robert Whittaker
Whittaker’s rematch hopes seemingly fell on deaf ears, because the promotion moved forward by booking Adesanya to move up in weight and challenge current light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 on March 6.
If Adesanya wins, there’s no guarantee he returns to 185 pounds, and no assurances Whittaker would get that fight. White said it would be in the best interest of the former champion to accept another fight in order to keep busy and stay atop the divisional rankings.
“I don’t think he’s going to get a title shot next,” White said on a recent ESPN+ fan Q&A with Laura Sanko. “He’ll have to fight somebody else first. It’s going to depend on what happens with Israel and Jan. We’ll see what happens.”
Despite his winning streak over some of the best middleweights on the planet, it seems like Whittaker still has some work to do. Dana explained in brief that ‘The Reaper’ isn’t in the immediate line for a title shot.
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