Robert ‘the Reaper’ Whittaker captured the UFC interim middleweight title at UFC 213 in July 2017. With Michael Bisping being the champion at that time, a bout between Bisping and Whittaker was inevitable.
However in November, Bisping took on former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in a super fight for the middleweight title. Bisping lost the fight via third round submission. After a just week, Bisping accepted a fight on short notice against surging Kelvin Gastelum. Bisping lost the fight via first round KO which ultimately led to his retirement a few days ago.
Whittaker while speaking on UFC 225 media conference call admitted that he wanted the fight against Bisping to be materialized but is happy that it never came into fruition.
“I think he’s a true warrior. I really do. He’s done it all. He’s lost, he’s won, and he’s become champion. He’s a true test of endurance and determination. I really do, I think a lot of people can learn a thing or two watching his career.”
“In terms of fighting him, from one fighter to another, there’s a lot of respect in terms of wanting to fight each other. There would’ve been a lot of respect there and a lot of honor earned, but I’m happy not to have fought him, just due to the fact that I’ve always watched him and, if I’m going to be honest with myself, I’m a bit of a fan of his, to be honest.”
Whittaker takes on Yoel Romero in a rematch at UFC 225 on June 9 in Chicago, Illinois.