Robert Whittaker vows to test Khamzat Chimaev’s hype, says shaking the Chechen-born middleweight's “undoubted confidence” could be key to victory

Robert Whittaker (L) is set to face Khamzat Chimaev (R) in June. [Images via @robwhittakermma and @Khamzat_Chimaev on Instagram]
Robert Whittaker (left) is set to face Khamzat Chimaev (right) in June [Images courtesy: @robwhittakermma and @Khamzat_Chimaev on Instagram]

Robert Whittaker can't wait to test Khamzat Chimaev later this year in Saudi Arabia.

Late last month, UFC President Dana White announced the full main card for the company's debut in Saudi Arabia. In the main event, 'The Reaper' will meet 'Borz' in a five-round middleweight bout with a likely title shot on the line.

For Chimaev, the fight with the former champion is viewed as the biggest test of his career. Fresh off his victory over Kamaru Usman in October, the Chechen hoped to get a title shot. Instead, he will need to get through Whittaker to fight for UFC gold.

Meanwhile, the middleweight bout allows Whittaker the chance to see if Chimaev is for real. That's exactly what he stated in a recent interview with ONE Championship flyweight titleholder Demetrious Johnson.

In the interview, the former UFC champion opined:

"He knows what he does well. He goes in there with undoubted confidence in what he can do. That makes a very dangerous recipe. But it also, if he gets shaken, you don't know what way the cards are going to fall. So I'm looking forward to testing that. To see how big the hype it is, if you would."

Check out his comments in the post below:


Opening odds released for Robert Whittaker vs. Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev has opened up as a slight betting favorite for his fight with Robert Whittaker.

Fan opinion on the middleweight bout has been mixed since its announcement last week. While 'Borz' has been dominant, he's not faced anyone close to the caliber of 'The Reaper'.

Meanwhile, Whittaker, while still a great fighter, has suffered high-profile losses in the last few years. Furthermore, he was rocked, and struggled at times against Paulo Costa in his most recent bout in February.

Regardless, it's clear that fan opinion on the bout is incredibly split. That's reflected by the close nature of the betting odds as well. Following the fight announcement from Dana White, DraftKings released odds for the bout.

As of now, Khamzat Chimaev is a -166 favorite for the fight, while Robert Whittaker is a slight +140 underdog. While 'Borz' has a lot of hype behind him, it seems that fans believe the former champion has a good shot of defeating him.

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Edited by Tejas Rathi