“I want to take the belt off Izzy”: Robert Whittaker determined to dethrone Israel Adesanya as UFC champion

Many potential opponent names have been thrown around for Israel Adesanya after reclaiming his belt once again but former middleweight king Robert Whittaker has been largely ignored.

Despite being ranked #2 in the UFC’s middleweight division. Robert seems to be held back from title contention due to his previous losses to “The Last Stylebender”. Adesanya and Alex Pereira currently hold the top two spots in the division.

The Australian star seems to be unsettled by this fact. As evidenced by a recent appearance on RJ Clifford’s MMA Today show on SiriusXM.

Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya

Israel’s Next Fight?

When asked about his next fight. Whittaker promptly revealed that the UFC had informed him that they would make a decision only after Adesanya’s match against Pereira last weekend.

Although he acknowledged that it would have been more advantageous for him if “Poatan” had defeated Adesanya and set up a title bout between him and the Brazilian. “The Reaper” expressed his desire to reclaim the title from “The Last Stylebender.”

“I guess a big thing that I realized is just how bad I want to fight Izzy,” Whittaker told Submission Radio. “You know? And it wasn’t until the fight between Alex and Izzy had played out and was playing out that. If Alex would’ve won, I would’ve moved up to fight Alex. That was a pretty much a sure thing. Which is cool. I want that fight. I’m aiming for the belt.”

He continued, “OK. But it’s not the same. I want to take the belt off Izzy. And it wasn’t until that might not have been a thing that I realized, hey, no. I really want to fight Izzy. Because since I’ve lost to Izzy, there’s been times people have asked me, ‘How bad do you want to fight Israel? Or do you just want to fight for the belt?’”

In his previous bout, Whittaker defeated Marvin Vettori, a former middleweight title challenger, by unanimous decision. Although he was previously linked to a match against Paulo Costa at UFC 284 in February, the fight ultimately fell through.

Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya: Their Last Outing

The first match between Robert and Israel was held in Melbourne, Victoria, as the main event of UFC 243 in October 2019.

When he faced Adesanya in their first fight, Whittaker was the reigning UFC middleweight champion. Having gone unbeaten for over five years. Nonetheless, “The Last Stylebender” dominated the bout, ultimately knocking out Whittaker in the second round and claiming the title for himself.

Israel Adesanya

After his defeat to Adesanya, “The Reaper” made a comeback by defeating Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum, earning him a rematch against Israel in February 2022.

Although Whittaker put up a stronger performance in their second fight. He still ended up with a loss on his record. As Adesanya narrowly defeated him over the course of five rounds and secured a unanimous decision.

WHht’s next for ‘Bobby Knucles’? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is a UFC/boxing journalist who connects combat sports to pop culture. His deep passion for the UFC started in 2018, triggered by the UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor fight. He is a passionate writer who has a profound love for the sport and the skills that are used in it. Through his work, Sami aspires to connect combat sportsmen and their enthusiastic fans.


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