Robert Whittaker says third Israel Adesanya fight will ‘definitely’ happen, clarifies ‘most dangerous man’ comment


Robert Whittaker isn’t done chasing Israel Adesanya.

“The Reaper” lost in a middleweight championship rematch to Adesanya at UFC 271 this past February, but bounced back in a big way at UFC Paris with a one-sided unanimous decision win over top contender Marvin Vettori. It was the 13th win in his past 15 fights for Whittaker — currently No. 2 at 185 pounds in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings — whose only losses during that stretch have come to “The Last Stylebender.”

Having held onto his No. 1 contender spot in convincing fashion, Whittaker made it clear his goal is still to once again be UFC champion.

“I am hunting for that title shot,” Whittaker stated on a recent episode The MMA Hour .. That’s exactly what I am doing, and it’s also what I will continue to do because that is the only way forward. I’m a fiend for progress, I just want to move forward.

“I want to move up. I want to move up.

Whittaker caused a stir in Paris’ UFC post-fight speech. He declared himself to be “the most dangerous man in the middleweight category”, a comment that was not clear after his losses to Adesanya. On The MMA Hour , he explained that he inflicts greater damage than Adesanya on opponents. This comment is especially pointed considering the recent criticisms Adesanya received for his relatively calm defenses of championships.

” I’m the most dangerous person in this division,” Whittaker stated. “Izzy, he’s the champion of the division, he beat me the last fight as well. He’s a great fighter. But I’m the most dangerous man. I can beat anyone in the division. That last fight against Israel I got within a hair’s breadth of taking everything away from him. They are not only beating me, based on the fights I have been in and my opponents. They are being flogged. That’s the difference.

“I’m hurting these guys and that’s what makes me so dangerous. Because I do not come into the fight just to win; I want to destroy my enemies. Although I don’t talk a lot, mentality wise, I am able to do that when I enter the ring. I didn’t expect to be leaving there when I went in. It’s not my intention to leave there with any injuries. Throwing too many kicks or throwing too many punches with reckless abandon, it’s just how it is.”

Regarding the shift in perception surrounding Adesanya, Whittaker chalks it up more to the opponents that Adesanya has fought as opposed to any changes in the champion’s strategy.

“Israel’s fighting the exact same way he has always fought,” Whittaker said. “He’s a picture-perfect defensive striker that uses his physical attributes perfectly with the way he fights. He’s now fighting much better quality men and it’s harder for him to defeat them, to get away from them, and a little tougher. He’s always fought that way. He’s always fought defensively, safe. And he gets the W. I guess that’s what you want.”

Whittaker has teased moving up another weight class after starting his UFC career at 170 pounds and he believes that if he ever goes up to compete at 205 pounds that is the division he’ll someday retire in. For now, he’s looking ahead to Adesanya’s next title defense against Alex Pereira, which takes place at UFC 281 on Nov. 12.

Whoever wins, Whittaker is confident that he remains at the front of any championship contender discussion.

“I am aware that I still have a chance against Izzy, if it’s the case or if I get dethroned I certainly have another shot at winning gold,” Whittaker stated. I believe that getting the third fight against Israel or whoever it is will be decisive.

“Definitely [there will be a third fight with Adesanya,]” he added. “It would be silly not to because I’m just running through everybody else. Especially the way the second fight left off, I’d have to have come the closest since he’s gotten the title to taking it back off him.”