Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is already a two-division octagon veteran, and now he could be preparing to move up to compete in his third UFC weight class.
Whittaker initially arrived in the UFC as a welterweight after winning the 170-pound tournament on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes back in 2012, and had four more fights at 170 before moving up to middleweight in 2014 and eventually capturing the undisputed 185-pound title.
Now, after losing his belt to Israel Adesanya and falling short in the rematch, Whittaker admits he’s considering his options, including a possible move up to 205 pounds.
Speaking to Submission Radio, Whittaker explained his thought process.
“I’ve been thinking about 205 for a fair bit,” he said.
“The problem is, I wouldn’t go to 205 to come back down to 185. Just because, I don’t want to go into 205 as a fat 185er. You see a lot of guys try that, and they just get starched. And then they come back down. It doesn’t make any sense.
“So, when I moved up to 185 the first time, there was no way, I would never come back down to 170. (I) could never. You gotta put on muscle, gotta train at that weight, gotta do all the bits and bobs then and there.
“But I’ve been thinking about 205. I think it would be a more natural weight for me personally. But the height disadvantage and knowing, I don’t know if I want to deal with that. I don’t know.”
It’s clear that he’s mulling over the possibility, but is far from decided. If he does make the jump up to light heavyweight, he’ll do so in full knowledge that he’ll be one of the shorter fighters in the division.
“I’m definitely thinking about going up to light heavyweight,” he continued.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, just because I like the idea. I think it’s a more natural weight for me. But the thing is, I’d have to do it properly. Just like when I moved to 185, I developed a lot of muscle and everything, with zero intention of going back down to 170. That’s how I feel like it has to be.
“Because you see a lot of 185-ers go up, get starched, and then come back down. And I don’t wanna go up to 205 as a fat 185er. But I’d have to deal with the height thing as well, which is kind of annoying. The tall guys!”
One thing does seem clear, however, and that’s the fact that if Whittaker does move up, he’ll be there to stay.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he admitted.
“Cause like I said, once I make the decision to go up to 205, I’m there. That will be my division. I’d finish my career there, for better or worse.
“I’m doing really well at 185. Yeah, I’m definitely one of the most dangerous men in the division. It’s just, yeah, don’t know, don’t know. Gotta think about it a lot.”
Before he makes the jump to 205, Whittaker first has to face off against fellow middleweight contender Marvin Vettori in Paris this coming weekend. It’s a matchup the Australian is relishing, and he explained how he wants to be the first man to finish the super-durable Italian.
“I want to hit him as hard as I can, and I’ve been working on hitting hard,” he said.
“I just want to test his mettle. I understand the type of fighter he is. The grit, the tenacity he has, and the type of fight that he wants. But yeah, I want to get in.
“I’ve got 15 minutes to put on a show, put on a barnburner, and that’s exactly what I want to do.
“That would be amazing, to be the first person to finish him. These guys at the top of the level are very hard to finish, though – they’re hard. They’re there for a reason.
“Everyone’s tough and used to getting hit with the big shots. But that’s the goal, that’s the objective, and we’ll see what happens.”