Dana White: Robert Whittaker in serious condition with staph infectionDana White: Robert Whittaker in serious condition with staph infection

Robert Whittaker opens up on absence from UFC

UFC 248 was supposed to feature Robert Whittaker, who would be making his first walk to the octagon since losing his middleweight championship to Israel Adesanya. Whittaker would withdraw from his fight against Jared Cannonier and immediately rumors surfaced that Whittaker pulled out in order to donate bone marrow for his daughter.

Those rumors were false.

Today, The Daily Telegraph released a story in which Whittaker opened up on what has held him out of fighting in 2020.

Whittaker, 29, says he’s simply burnt out. He realized this on Christmas Day in December during a workout. That day the former champ was running on the Wanda dunes in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire. The famed dunes are extremely difficult for many people, except Whittaker. When Whittaker attacks Wanda, he runs around 37 hills, until that day on December 25.

“I just stopped,” Whittaker told The Daily Telegraph.

“Then I stood there, asking ‘what the f… am I doing?’ It was Christmas Day. My family was somewhere else. That moment, it’s when everything crashed.”

Throughout his career Whittaker has been known for his relentless grind. Whittaker would train four to five times a day, seven days a week. That hard work did pay off for the Sydney, Australia native though.

In 2014, Whittaker moved up to middleweight after losing two of three fights at welterweight. Once Whittaker moved up he went on tear, winning seven fights in a row and capturing the middleweight championship. That run to the top took a lot out of the man also known as Bobby Knuckles.

“I sacrificed everything. “My team suggested several plans which I took to. And because it worked, I just kept at it. But you can’t keep doing that forever. You just can’t.”

During that time, Robert Whittaker suffered a number of injuries. First he had a severe case of chickenpox in 2018 that kept him sidelined. Then in 2019, one night prior to defending his belt against Kelvin Gastelum, he needed emergency surgery to repair a twisted bowel.

Whether it was good, bad or ugly; Whittaker never stopped working. In fact, he spent so much time training that his social life was nonexistent.

“I just wasn’t home. Because of my training schedule, I was missing birthdays, weddings, funerals. It was crazy.”

After years of nonstop training, the father of three reached his breaking point when he quit running up the hill on Christmas.

“I was completely burnt out. And walking back to the car afterwards, I told myself that what I was doing, it wasn’t normal. I couldn’t keep going like that.”

“So after arriving home, I got straight on the phone to my team, who had been at Wanda with me, and said ‘everything is paused until I work out how to stop feeling this way’.”

While that was his breaking point, Whittaker actually started feeling burnt out following his second fight with Yoel Romero in 2018, a fight which he won and broke his hand.

When the time came for Robert Whittaker to fight Adesanya, a fight which set a UFC record for crowd attendance with almost 60,000 people, the former champion knew he wasn’t himself.

Following the loss, Whittaker knew he could perform better, but in order to do so he was going to need some downtime to figure things out.

Now Whittaker has used this time to change up his team and his workout program as he prepares to fight again. Since making the changes Whittaker is enjoying his life and actually has time to play with his children.

“The changes I’ve made, it really will change my life. Not training to exhaustion every day, I guess you can say I’m living.”

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