The stars have aligned and Rob Whittaker and Israel Adesanya are set to clash.
Both fighters appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour today and had many things to say about each other.
After winning the interim UFC middleweight title, Adesanya said that it felt fitting to be called a champion.
Adesanya dismissed a potential fight with Jon Jones, for now, calling him a bully.
“Once I get past Jacare and Robert, that’ll be the fight,” Adesanya told Helwani.
“But he wants to get me out early, he comes across as a dick, I’m what he wishes he was when he first got to the UFC.”
Adesanya said he’ll fight Jones eventually but wants to defend the middleweight belt a few times. Which means the next fight will be a unification bout against current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker who is “in for a rude awakening” according to Adesanya.
“He picked Kelvin (To beat me) because he didn’t want to fight me,” Adesanya said.
“I said it since day one, I said I’ll be fighting Robert for the belt in Auckland in two years.”
While the fight hasn’t been announced officially, it seems to be a lock in Australia.
Whittaker state on the show that he is back training and is rearing to go.
“It was definitely a more impressive fight than when he fought Anderson Silva,” Whittaker told Helwani of Adesanya’s performance.
“I think it drew a little bit more out of the tank.”
Whittaker laughed at the idea of any animosity between him and Adesanya saying that it’s concerning that he is getting so worked up about what comments he makes and constantly bringing up his name.
“I don’t understand why this guy gets such a rise out of what I said,” Whittaker continued.
“The only critical thing I ever said about him was that I don’t think he’s as good as he thinks he is.”
He labeled Adesanya’s attempts at calling him a fake Aussie and a fake New Zealander as ridiculous.
“He says I’m a fake Aussie, fake New Zealander, that’s just ridiculous. I don’t think anyone really pays any mind to it, cause if I’m a fake New Zealander, then what is he?”
Asked about why he thinks Adesanya likes to talk about him so much Whittaker continued.
“He can’t stand people like me more than they like him, he can’t stand the fact that people are talking about me in the same sentence as him, he wants all the attention, Just relax mate, you got a shiny belt, we can fight for my one later.”
Whittaker says he saw lots of holes in Adesanya’s game and believes Gastelum exposed a lot but couldn’t take full advantage of them.
“You can see the holes that were there before, they just got exposed bigger,” Whittaker said.
“There was a lot of things Gastelum exploited, and could have exploited but couldn’t because of his makeup, reach and striking style. Gastelum got in and landed that left, I’ll get in and land my right, I’m a better striker than Gastelum, Israel should be very worried, I’m a hard fight.”
Whittaker ended the show saying that this will be the biggest combat sports event in Australian history.
“We could definitely get more (than 50,000) this will be the biggest combat sports event in the Australian and New Zealand market, mark my words”.
Dana White had already said he’s set his people to the task of finding a stadium to host this fight which is expected to be later this year.