Robert Whittaker thought he had true disdain for Israel Adesanya but he ended up overwhelming himself.
Whittaker and Adesanya had their first encounter back in Oct. 2019. Going into the fight, Whittaker was the UFC Middleweight Champion while Adesanya held the interim gold. Whittaker ended up getting stopped via second-round TKO.
Whittaker had made it clear that he wasn’t a fan of Adesanya’s trash-talking style. As it turns out, Whittaker ultimately realized “The Last Stylebender’s” words weren’t all that bad.
Robert Whittaker Is Over Hatred Of Adesanya
Robert Whittaker appeared as a guest on The MMA Hour recently. During his appearance, Whittaker told Ariel Helwani that he has let go of any animosity towards Adesanya.
“Funny enough is like, and I think I said this last time we were speaking, is that I got in my own head so much and I had so much grudge towards him and gripe that I wore myself out. I had so much anger and hate that I just wore myself out. It got tiring being angry at him and for no real reason. It’s not like he came to my house and stole my TV [laughs]. So, yeah I got over it and honestly, once I let that go I started seeing him like everybody else. I don’t hate the guy anymore. If anything, I respect his skillsets, I respect him doing his thing.”
In order to defeat “Izzy,” Whittaker believes he has to modify the blueprint laid out by former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz. Blachowicz defeated Adesanya via unanimous decision back in March 2021.
“I think Jan set the blueprint up to beat Izzy quite thoroughly. I think if we’re looking at it, patience, striking, and takedowns. I think those three things are what leads you to beat Israel. You wanna avoid getting hit by his big counter striking punches and his big leathers. You take him down when you can to make him uncomfortable to slow his arms and legs down. You gotta be patient because if you rush in you’re getting hit right in the face. But in saying that, you have to change the game plan Jan went in to account for Jan’s pros and special traits that are unique to him such as his Polish power and Polish head [laughs].”
Whittaker will get his second crack at Adesanya on Feb. 12. The title rematch will be held inside the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. It’ll headline UFC 271.