Australian UFC middleweight interim champion Robert Whittaker has been given a further boost to his championship credentials thanks to number 3 ranked middleweight Luke Rockhold.
In an interview this week with MMA analyst Ariel Helwani, Rockhold praised Whittaker for his rise through the ranks and credited his victories as very impressive.
“I think he’s the best right now, he’s probably the best out there, of the two guys who have a belt right now, I’d say he’s the better of the two,” said Rockhold when referring to the Australian.
Rockhold revealed that he did watch the middleweight interim title match-up between Whittaker and Yoel Romero at UFC 215, saying he was somewhat impressed by both, but attributed Romero’s notoriously suspect cardio fitness and Whittakers toughness as the reasons for the Australian’s victory.
“He’s there for a reason, he beat Jacare, he beat Yoel, he’s a viable opponent, but you know I’m sure I’ll find him too.”
Rockhold also signaled his intentions to get ‘his’ title back after his fight against Branch.
Whittaker is due to face the winner of the upcoming fight between the current middleweight champion Michael Bisping and Georges Saint-Pierre in 2018, after he recovers from the knee injury he suffered in his last fight.
Rockhold himself returns to action in September at UFC Fight Night 116 in Pittsburgh against David Branch. It will be his first fight since losing the middleweight title to current champion Michael Bisping via knockout.
Sean McKernan is a Melbourne based writer for Fight News Australia.