In the final event of the UFC’s Fight Island schedule in July, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker defeated Darren Till by unanimous decision and immediately put himself back into the title picture. The fight against Till was Whittaker’s first since he lost his title to Israel Adesanya back at UFC 243.
With his name back at the top of the division and a scheduled title fight between Adesanya and contender Paulo Costa, Whittaker could’ve waited it out and campaign for a title shot against the winner of Adesanya-Costa. Instead, “The Reaper” chose for a quick turnaround and accepted a fight against another top contender, Jared Cannonier, which is slated to take place at UFC 254.
Whittaker has chosen to stay active rather than wait for a title opportunity that wasn’t guaranteed, and on Wednesday he explained why. During an interview on ‘MMA Tonight’ on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation with Ryan McKinnell and Miesha Tate, Whittaker started out by saying he believes the fight against Cannonier will take place on Fight Island.
📽️ "I think I can take this fight to a place that will make him very, very uncomfortable," @robwhittakermma discusses his upcoming fight with Jared Cannonier and explains why he took this bout instead of waiting for a title shot. 👊@RyanMcKinnell @MieshaTate pic.twitter.com/688URzV7AM
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) August 5, 2020
“He’s a dangerous guy, like very dangerous. He’s got knockout power, he’s togh, he’s relentless, he goes forward just pressures you and beats you up, right? That’s his whole thing. He’s like a real big bully fighter but he’s resilient to all other angles. So like, you take him down, he gets back up. You try to bang with him and he out-toughs you, and he’s got heavy leather. I guess where I stand on the matter is that I think I’m just better than him across the board.”
In comparing himself to Cannonier, Whittaker laid out why he believes he’s better than his upcoming opponent in every aspect, and why he believes he will make the fight uncomfortable for him.
“I think I’m better striking, I think I’m faster, I think I can move faster. I think if I want to take him to the ground, I can mix that in and make it a terrible night for him. I am tough enough, and I have the card, to go the entire distance, to drag it out, to make it a war of attrition with him. I think I can take this fight to a place that will make him very, very uncomfortable.”
When it comes to waiting around for a title shot, Robert Whittaker told Sirius XM that he’s just done waiting around for the next fight opportunity.
“I’m done waiting. I’m done. I’m done with having such long periods of time before fights. I’m in this game of course for one, it’s my trade. It’s what I do to make a living you know? And to be honest, it’s not a bad job. And two, I enjoy fighting, that’s what I enjoy doing. I’m good right now. I’m healthy. Why shouldn’t I fight again? I have nothing planned for October.
“If I had things planned and like there was hypothetically, let’s move forward a couple of months and they wanted me to fight in February or something. And I had just fought in October, I’d have to think about it you know what I mean? Because there’s Christmas and New Year’s and my kids’ birthdays and there’s things that go on. But right now, October is pretty free. Looked at my agenda and there’s a slot for him [Cannonier].”
Coming off his big win over Till, it seems like Robert Whittaker is happy to be back fighting and wants to stay active rather than take long breaks in between fights.