Robert Whittaker Apologizes For Not Giving Islam Makhachev Credit For UFC 294 Win: ‘That Was Not What I Intended To Do’

Robert Whittaker responded to his fans who thought he gave Alexander Volkanovski too many excuses for UFC 294 loss.

Robert Whittaker
Robert Whittaker (Left) and Islam Makhachev's UFC 294 win (Right)(Images via Instagram @RobWhittakerMMA and @Islam_Makhachev)

Robert Whittaker apologized for his reaction to Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski II. 

On October 21, Volkanovski came up short in his short-notice rematch against Makhachev, with the Russian retaining his UFC lightweight title with a first-round knockout.

Following UFC 294, Robert Whittaker reacted to the fight by pointing out the differences between ‘The Great’ in their first meeting compared to the second due to the lack of preparation. 

Whittaker’s comments were met with backlash from his podcast listeners, as the fans felt he didn’t give Makhachev enough credit for his performance. ‘The Reaper’ responded to those people by saying this on the latest episode of the MMArcade Podcast:

“I’m sorry if I underplayed Makahchev’s achievements in beating Volk the way he did. That was not what I intended to do. Even if that’s how I made it sound, I’m sorry…I do not take anything away from the way Makhachev did to take on the newcomer, to take on a guy that gave him such a hard time in his first fight. To have such a performance, to adapt to the change in opponents, to do what he did that night, unbelievable.”

Robert Whittaker reiterates the differences he saw between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski’s two fights

Islam Makhachev’s evolved striking was the primary factor for his impressive win at UFC 294. With that said, there is still an argument that Alexander Volkanovski’s lack of preparations could have made him more susceptible to getting knocked out. 

During the previously mentioned MMArcade Podcast episode, Robert Whittaker had this to say about what he specifically thought was different about Volkanovski on October 21: 

“I don’t think Volk looked as fast as he had in the first fight. I don’t think Volk looked as lean as he was in the first fight. I don’t think he was moving with as much fluidity. He was a little bit sluggish. This is just what I saw, my take on the fights.”

Whittaker followed up by referring to Volkanovski’s brutal weight cut as a potential factor for his second loss against Makhachev: 

“I concluded that it must have been because of the [weight] cut. He did say he had a big cut in the twelve days and that he wasn’t training properly leading out. When a gas tank is your biggest weapon, I think pretty early on we saw that it wasn’t the same. You’d have to be blind not to see the differences from the first fight to the second fight.”

Regardless of the short-notice opponent, Islam Makhachev once again showcased why some people consider him the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.

The 32-year-old UFC lightweight world champion now turns his attention to his next title defense, which is expected to be a rematch against Charles Oliveira or a fresh matchup against Justin Gaethje.

Watch the entire latest episode of Robert Whittaker’s podcast below:

Published on November 3, 2023 at 6:56 pm
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