Robert Whittaker Thinks Israel Adesanya Didn’t Have Off Night, Doesn’t Deserve Immediate Rematch

Robert Whittaker believes the UFC middleweight division will be held up if Israel Adessanya gets an immediate rematch.

Robert Whittaker
Robert Whittaker (Left) and Israel Adesanya (Right)(Images via Instagram @RobWhittakerMMA and @Stylebender)

Robert Whittaker disagrees with people who think Israel Adesanya had an off night against Sean Strickland. 

At UFC 293, the middleweight division was turned upside down when Strickland defeated Adesanya by unanimous decision. The shocking result led some fans and analysts to believe ‘The Last Stylebender’ wasn’t himself, taking away from Strickland’s phenomenal performance. 

During an episode of the MMArcarde Podcast, Robert Whittaker reacted to the UFC 293 main event by giving Strickland his flowers. Furthermore, the former middleweight champion shut down those saying Adesanya had an off night:

“I see a lot of things saying that Izzy looked off. I don’t think he had an off night. I think he looked off because Sean shut him down. Izzy wasn’t given any space in the open floor to do any of his tricky kicks. He wasn’t given any space to work any of his flinch games with his punches. He wasn’t given the chance. Sean was in his face from the first bell ring.”

Whittaker has fought ‘The Last Stylebender’  twice in title fights, losing one by knockout and the other by unanimous decision. Therefore, ‘The Reaper’ knows more about Adesanya than most of the MMA community.

Robert Whittaker believes Israel Adesanya shouldn’t get an immediate title rematch

It’s unclear what Israel Adesanya’s plan is after losing on September 9. With that said, an immediate rematch against Sean Strickland isn’t out of the question, as Dana White has voiced his interest in the matchup. 

Meanwhile, Robert Whittaker believes Adesanya doesn’t deserve the rematch. During the same podcast episode, ‘The Reaper’ had this to say: 

“It doesn’t make sense [for Adesanya to get an immediate rematch]. What do you wanna do? Every time he loses you just wanna give him a rematch so he can stay champ until he wins it back?…He’s just tying up that belt again. The fight between Pereira and him locked up the division for that eight months, forced a lot of guys to fight in that interim. If it happens again, it’s gonna get locked up again.”

Unfortunately for Whittaker, he likely won’t be involved in the next one or two middleweight title fights. On July 8, the former UFC champion suffered an upset defeat against Dricus du Plessis, who could be next in line to fight Adesanya. 

Only time will tell what’s next for Whittaker and the rest of the rejuvenated UFC middleweight division.

Published on September 12, 2023 at 4:54 am
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