Robert Whittaker is gearing up for his first title defense on Saturday when he takes on Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC 234.
Since Whittaker won the interim belt by beating Yoel Romero at UFC 213 in July 2017, he has only fought once since then. He defeated Romero again — in a non-title fight given Romero missed weight — at UFC 225. Now, Whittaker is fighting again, in what should be a great fight against Gastelum. However, this fight is not the most anticipated fight on the card. Rather, it is the co-main event which sees rising star Israel Adesanya take on former champion, Anderson Silva.
There is a big reason why that is, and it is because Whittaker is criminally underrated. All he does is win — a 20-4 record with a nine-fight winning streak — and put on great performances. UFC President, Dana White also agrees that Whittaker is underrated. He also went as far as saying he is the most underrated champion.
“I think Whittaker right now is the most underrated champion in the UFC,” UFC president Dana White said about the reigning middleweight champion when speaking on the ‘Jim Rome Show’ this week.
Although many don’t believe a win over Gastelum will raise Whittaker’s star anymore. One fight that will is a fight against Adesanya. It would be a must-see event, in which it would be Australia vs New Zealand, in what would sell out any stadium in Australia or New Zealand. For Dana White, if Whittaker and Adesanya both win, he knows that has to be the next fight.
“Israel Adesanya is from New Zealand and Whittaker is from Australia. Both of these guys win — this fight with Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva is for the No. 1 contender’s position so whoever wins that night [gets a title shot],” White explained.
“But if it ends up being Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker, New Zealand versus Australia — it’s going to be madness.”