UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya can understand why Robert Whittaker is not campaigning hard for a rematch.
Following his title defense over Paulo Costa at UFC 253 in September, Adesanya earmarked Jared Cannonier as his next potential opponent provided he defeated Whittaker at UFC 254 last month.
That didn’t end up happening as Whittaker came out on top with a unanimous decision victory over Cannonier to make it two wins in a row since his defeat to Adesanya in October last year.
Despite it being only a year since they competed, UFC president Dana White revealed a rematch between the pair appealed to him. Whittaker, however, didn’t seem to care who was next for him as he wanted to spend Christmas with his family. While he didn’t outright say he didn’t want to fight Adesanya, he wasn’t campaigning hard for it either.
That shocked White who recently went on to claim that Whittaker didn’t want the fight. As a result, Adesanya is now set to move up to light heavyweight and face Jan Blachowicz.
And as far as Adesanya is concerned, he sees things from Whittaker’s perspective.
“I think his perspective is, I know what he means,” Adesanya told Submission Radio. “I kind of get it. Like, you don’t have to force it. If you know, you know. And he knows.
“So, yeah, I’ll probably see him again in New Zealand down the line. And yeah, it’s one of those things I guess you don’t push or force. Like, he knows he’s… yeah, I get it. I get it, I get it.”
Adesanya: Cannonier Defeat Spurred Move To Light Heavyweight
Adesanya had been calling for a fight with Cannonier well before UFC 253 but it won’t be happening for the foreseeable future at least.
However, “The Last Stylebender” believes in flexibility as well as fate as he feels the timing is now perfect for him to move up to light heavyweight.
“Yeah, pretty much,” Adesanya added when asked if the outcome of the fight led to his move up. “Robert did well to stifle Jared and broke his arm, and I was looking forward to that fight. So, I was like, alright. And then it’s like the ultimate alley-oop from the universe. I’m like, yes, it’s perfect. And this is the thing, you have to be flexible in this game. In life, you have to be flexible, cause nothing’s certain, nothing’s given. The landscape of things change all the time.
“And yeah, this is just right there for the taking. So, I was like, this is perfect. This is perfect for that Jones fight I keep talking about, this is perfect leading up to it. So, yeah, was it’s just right there for the taking.”
The chances of Adesanya becoming a two-weight champion also look good as he has opened as a sizeable favorite over Blachowicz according to oddsmakers.