Robert Whittaker bounced back in 2020 with two emphatic decision victories over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. The latter happened recently at UFC 254, and it could serve to set up the rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker.
The first time around, the fight between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker wasn't even close. The Last Stylebender dominated Robert Whittaker and finished him in the second round to unify the Middleweight Championship in front of a record crowd at Melbourne.
Speaking to RJ Clifford and Meisha Tate on MMA on Sirius XM, Robert Whittaker admitted that the trash talk from Israel Adesanya piled up as a factor responsible for his loss in 2019 (H/T Thebodylockmma):
"I think it was one more thing that piled on top,” Whittaker told MMA Tonight. “One more thing we threw on top of a pile of an already huge clutter mess of what was going on in my head. And certainly, I can’t discount the fact that side of it, as well as the hype and the buildup and the attention me and him were receiving in Australia.… The size of the event, the size of the venue — it was a massive thing. It just blew everything up to bigger proportions."
Robert Whittaker did, however, state that it wasn't the driving factor:
“I’m certain it did play a factor. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. But I think it was the cherry on top, not so much the driving factor.”
Robert Whittaker's ascent back to the top
The big question is how the new and improved Robert Whittaker will fare against Israel Adesanya. Following a dominant win at UFC 253, the Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya looks better than ever, and he will be the favorite heading into a potential rematch against Robert Whittaker.
It would certainly be an interesting fight to watch, and if the Australian fights the way he did in his last couple of fights, he could fare a lot better.Published 31 Oct 2020, 01:08 IST