Whittaker recently asserted that his “ego” was one of the primary reasons behind him losing to Adesanya via second-round KO in their first fight at UFC 243 in October 2019.
Speaking to Stake, Adesanya jibed at Whittaker and alleged that 'The Reaper' isn’t the good guy that many in the MMA community believe he is. 'The Last Stylebender' said:
“People kept saying what a good guy he is, but trust me he’s not. You don’t see that behind the scenes. And now he’s admitted it was his ego that got the best of him – well I told you so, he should have listened to me!”
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda’s James Lynch, Robert Whittaker has now refuted Israel Adesanya’s claims. ‘The Reaper’ stated:
“I don’t know. It’s like, don’t get ego and egotistical mixed up, right? Like, I think ego; every fighter has ego. And it’s like, I’m not pretending to be anything that I’m not. I think he’s getting confused of the difference there, but it doesn’t bother me. Like, people know who I am. By now, people would’ve seen a mask if I was wearing one. Don’t have a mask. I’m very proud of my skill-set and how good I am. Oh, he’s definitely confused. But it could be gamesmanship. Who knows?”
Watch Robert Whittaker’s conversation with James Lynch for Sportskeeda below:
Israel Adesanya could return to light heavyweight down the line
Speaking to Stake, Israel Adesanya asserted that he’s keen on “lapping” the UFC middleweight division. He's beaten top-tier middleweight contender Marvin Vettori twice and implied that he could run it back with a few more middleweight rivals before testing himself at another weight class.
Adesanya highlighted that he'd resultantly have to fight three-four times a year, but this pace could slow down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kiwi came up short in his 205-pound debut against Jan Blachowicz last March. Regardless, he’s still open to fighting at 205 lbs down the line.
“What keeps it fresh for me is lapping the division again, that keeps me motivated.” Adesanya added, “I may return to the 205lb division, but I call that a side mission that may happen again down the line. I am just fully focused at 185lb right now.”
Israel Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, is scheduled to defend his title in a rematch against Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 on February 12th.