UFC president Dana White says Robert Whittaker is not guaranteed the next middleweight title shot, saying he turned down Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya puts his UFC middleweight title on the line this Saturday night in the main event of UFC 263 when he takes on Marvin Vettori, who is currently riding a five-fight win streak. While the No. 3 ranked Vettori is certainly deserving of this opportunity to fight for the belt, many fans felt that Whittaker should have been next in line following three straight wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum. However, Whittaker was not ready to fight in June after fighting Gastelum in April, and Vettori got the title shot instead.
Speaking to UFC Arabia, White was asked if Whittaker is next in line to fight the winner of Adesanya vs. Vettori. While “The Reaper” still makes a lot of sense to get a title shot, White wouldn’t confirm that he would be next in line. As far as White’s concerned, Whittaker didn’t want to fight Adesanya at UFC 263, so the promotion can’t assume that he will be next in line, with White suggesting someone else could jump in line.
“Well obviously when he’s ready to fight, we’ll get him a fight. I can’t say, ‘Oh he’s definitely next,’ because I don’t know what he’s got planned or what’s going on. You are absolutely right — we roll, we keep moving, we put on fights every weekend. So whoever’s ready to fight gets to fight. Vettori makes sense. (Paulo) Costa just got the shot, Whittaker was the no-brainer, but he didn’t want the fight, so Vettori is next,” Dana White said.
Based on merit, Whittaker certainly deserves to fight for the UFC middleweight title. But the show must go on for White and the UFC, and if someone isn’t ready, then someone else like Vettori gets the opportunity instead.
Do you think Robert Whittaker should be next in line for the middleweight title shot?
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