Robert Whittaker is gearing up for his return to the Octagon in early 2023.
The No. 2 ranked middleweight contender recently spoke with Kacper Rosolowski and Denis Shkuratov of Submission Radio to discuss the current state of the 185-pound division and the possibility of him challenging newly crowned middleweight champion Alex Pereira. ‘The Reaper’ believes he would fare well against the Brazilian behemoth, but makes it clear that he is still gunning for a win against former champion Israel Adesanya.
“I’m the toughest matchup for anyone in the division. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still gunning for (Israel) Adesanya. I’m still gonna work out that puzzle, that tall bastard, but yeah, stylistically I think I match up with Alex (Pereira) a bit better because he’s much more upright. Less fade away, more forward pushing and he’s just there more. I believe I can use a lot of my arsenal and my skill set against a guy that isn’t fading away and counter-fighting the way Adesanya does, but wait and see. That dude’s huge. It doesn’t look like a fun prospect to fight.”
Shortly after Pereira’s shocking fifth-round knockout of ‘The Last Stylebender’ at UFC 280, ‘Poatan’ was rumored to step back into the Octagon with very little turnaround time to face undefeated Chechen monster Khamzat Chimaev. Given that there was less than a month between the two events, Pereira was unable to make the 185-pound limit but offered to fight Chimaev at 205. Chimaev reportedly declined.
“What I do find funny though is Alex saying, ‘Yeah, we’ll fight, but you’re gonna come up two weight division.’ Why stop there? Just make it no weight division.”
Of course, fighting at 205 means that there would be no UFC championship on the line making the bout significantly less attractive for Chimaev.
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) November 16, 2022
Robert Whittaker is Committed to Fighting at UFC 284, With or Without Paulo Costa
Robert Whittaker is slated to step into the Octagon at UFC 284 in February against No. 6 ranked middleweight Paulo Costa. Recently, ‘The Eraser’ claimed that his bout with Whittaker was far from a done deal as he had not received a new deal from the UFC. Asked about the status of their schedule scrap, ‘The Reaper’ says that he has signed on the dotted line and isn’t worrying himself over Costa’s recent uncertainty.
“I signed a contract and I’m training my butt off. I’m starving myself to get down to the weight limit. Someone is getting beaten up in February. He’s a notorious troll for that sort of stuff so I’m not paying too much attention and I don’t think anyone else should pay too much attention to the dude that walks around with a bottle that says ‘secret juice’ on it.”
Paulo Costa did reveal on an episode of ‘The MMA Hour’ that he had rejected a six-fight deal offered to him by the UFC. With his current contract only having one fight left on it, Costa is interested in testing out the free-agent market before making any hasty decisions. It sounds as though ‘The Eraser’ won’t sign on the dotted line for a February meeting with Whittaker unless he receives a substantial pay increase. Regardless, ‘The Reaper’ will be ready to go no matter who steps inside the Octagon with him.
“I am only interested in worrying about the things that I can control. That’s training. Getting the weight down. Putting all the pieces together and then getting in their [February].