Robert Whitaker, the hulking Australian who once dominated the Middleweight division, isn’t the sort of man you’d typically expect to get emotional. However, he let his emotions get the best of him the first time he fought Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya, as he recently revealed.
“I was in a bad place for the sport itself, for my career. I got a bit emotional in that fight because I don’t like him very much and on top of everything else that was going on.
How “sh*thead” Adesanya got inside Robert Whittaker’s head…
Lost my cool. I wasn’t really fighting like I should fight, like I normally fight. Props to him, he got in my head. I just think he’s a sh*thead.”
Whitaker, normally polite and amusing in interviews, has no great love for the man who took his Middleweight title. New Zealand and Australia may be allies and neighbors, but Bobby Knuckles has no affection for his rival.
“He’s just a sh*t person. A sh*t person. Ah, a piece of sh*t is too rough. Too harsh. He’s a sh*thead. There, that sounds better. He’s a sh*thead. I don’t like him, he doesn’t like me. Two cats from two different paths that don’t get along.”
When the pair faced off, it was at UFC 243, in front of a packed crowd in Melbourne Australia. A second-round knockout defeat on home turf can’t have been fun for Whitaker, particularly after weeks of trash talk from Adesanya.
Robert Whitaker did not take the loss lying down. He returned to training and the Octagon with renewed vigor. He ground out dominant decision victories over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum since that fateful evening in 2019.
He stands on the precipice of a title rematch with Adesanya, who remains undefeated in the Middleweight division. That’s not just undefeated since claiming the strap, either. “Stylebender” has only one MMA loss to his name, an ill-advised step up to the Light Heavyweight division against Jan Blachowicz.
In a division stacked with championship-quality talent, Adesanya remains unassailable. Robert Whittaker surely disagrees and will be chomping at the bit for a shot at the belt he once owned.
Which way do you see a rematch between these two titans of the Middleweight division going? Will Whittaker reclaim the title and get revenge over Adesanya? Will the Nigerian-born New Zealander assert his dominance in the division and remain undefeated atop at 185 pounds? Let us know in the comments.