With UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya confirmed to be moving up a weight class to try and win the light heavyweight belt, the immediate fighting future of Robert Whittaker was unclear.
The former champion at 185 pounds, the man Adesanya defeated to win middleweight gold, defeated Darren Till and most recently Jared Cannonier to rebound from that loss and has looked at the peak of his powers.
However, after Whittaker said he was looking to take a break after the Cannonier fight with the impending birth of his fourth child, the UFC moved to pair Adesanya up with UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz next.
There have been murmurings that Whittaker is not all that interested in a rematch with Adesanya and Paulo Costa, the man who fought Adesanya last, has since called out “The Reaper” for a fight. But the Australian has said that the notion of him avoiding Adesanya is far from the truth and that a contest with Costa makes little sense.
“The only real logical fight for me right now is Izzy [Adesanya],” Whittaker told MMA Junkie. “I’ve held this spot as [number] one twice now in the last four, five months, and that’s a fight he [Costa] just lost his contention to the title.
“That’s really the only fight that I am interested in at the moment. It’s very hard for me to be interested in anything else.”
Whittaker insists he never said that he didn’t want to fight Adesanya, he just talked about his break and how he wouldn’t break character by trash talking his way into title contention following his win over Cannonier at UFC 254.
In fact, Whittaker says he would even move up to light heavyweight if Adesanya finds a new home in that division.
“I never said I don’t want to fight Izzy,” Whittaker added. “That’s not something I said. I did not say that. I’m looking to fight March, April next year. I would like to fight Izzy. If Izzy’s moving up to fight Jan, then I’ll move up and fight him there if he gets the win. I want that fight. I do want that fight. We just had to work it into that timeline.
“I have no control on what the UFC’s going to do or what Izzy’s going to do, but whether he’s here at middleweight or up at light heavyweight, I’ll take the fight.”