Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (23-5-0 14-3-0 UFC) explained what went awry in his first fight against current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (21-1-0 10-1-0 UFC), where he lost the 185-pound title. Whittaker opened up to MMA Junkie ahead of his rematch with Adesanya and explained that there were more than just technical mistakes that got into the way of his title defence.
Robert Whittaker on Previous Meeting With Israel Adesanya
Whittaker and Adesanya collided in October of 2019, and Adesanya defeated Whittaker via counter right hand and second-round knockout, becoming the middleweight champion. In that time, Whittaker has gone 3-0 with wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum, all but cementing his place as the number-one contender in the division.
Whittaker felt that his pride held him back, saying, “I think (Adesanya) even mentioned it – that my ego was something that affected me. As much as I don’t want to acknowledge my opponent for insight, my ego probably was a big thing, was a big part of why my headspace wasn’t where it should’ve been for that fight – why I was letting the debate between Australia and New Zealand get to me, why I was letting all these little things get to me.”
“It showed. The results of that showed in the way I was behaving, in the way, I put the fight together, and the way I was fighting at the moment. I’ve acknowledged all of that and you can see obviously I’ve come to terms with all of that and I’m a different fighter now than I was then.”
As his last three fights indicate, Robert Whittaker has clearly turned over a new leaf. He wants to return to the belt, and their clash in Houston at UFC 271 determines who will walk away victorious.
Who do you think will win the title? Let us know in the comments!
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