According to UFC president Dana White, the fight between Robert Whittaker and Current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is ‘very appealing’ after UFC 254.
UFC president Dana White is keen on the idea of a rematch between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya after UFC 254. The ‘Reaper’ successfully held his spot of the no.1 contender on Saturday with a unanimous decision win over Jared Cannonier in the co-main event of UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.
In the lead-up to the fight, much of the talk swirled around Cannonier cementing a championship opportunity with a win especially with current champion Israel Adesanya recently naming Cannonier as a future challenger but Robert pressed pause on that narrative.
Whittaker has now won back-to-back fights against Cannonier and Darren Till since he dropped the 185-pound title to Adesanya at UFC 243 in October 2019. In that fight, he was dropped twice and lost by second-round TKO.
Since then, Whittaker has spoken openly about his struggles with mental health and being burnt out by the demands that come with being an elite UFC fighter. Nine months after the loss to Adesanya, Whittaker returned at a Fight Island show in July to defeat Darren Till by unanimous decision. With the win over Cannonier, he has now won 11 of his last 12 fights.
Dana White on What’s next for Whittaker
Although there hasn’t been much time since the first encounter, White said he’s captivated by the idea of a rematch.
“It’s very appealing to me,” White told reporters. “It’s the fight that makes sense right now. Adesanya has a lot of options right now, but the fight that makes the most sense right now is Whittaker. I thought Cannonier was going to be a much tougher challenge for him. he looked good tonight, so the Adesanya rematch makes sense.”
Whittaker said he’s on board to run it back, as well, but he’s not going to press for it.
“I do want to fight him one day,” he said. “My whole mentality in this game is you line them up and I’ll knock them down. I’m pretty good at that.”
Any argument against Whittaker fighting Adesanya again might stem from how “The Last Stylebender” disposed of Whittaker 12 months ago. Adesanya capped off a strong performance with a second-round KO to end Whittaker’s reign and a nine-fight win streak.
Another factor getting in the way of Adesanya-Whittaker 2 is the fact that Robert has expressly said he has no interest in fighting again before the end of the year. Speaking to the media earlier this week, he repeatedly stated that he’s not looking past Cannonier and that he’s looking forward to spending Christmas with his family.
When a possible title fight in December was brought up, he offered this answer:
“Aw, f*ck. I don’t know… I’ll worry about that then, honestly, because I’d have to talk it out with my team and if they thought it was the best move, they’d have a hell of a convincing job ahead of them. Otherwise, I don’t have to worry about it. The only fight that’s in my sights is Saturday and that’s the only one that matters at this point.”
If not the ‘Reaper’ the next possible challenge for Adesanya will be the winner of a fight between Till and Jack Hermansson scheduled for Dec. 5. Otherwise, the UFC could look into the budding feud between Adesanya and Jon Jones, and maybe negotiate a super fight between those two before Jones makes a long-anticipated move to heavyweight.
What do you guys think will be next for the Aussie Robert Whittaker?
Purchase the UFC merch here.