Robert Whittaker was offered a title fight with Israel Adesanya in June, an hour after going through Kelvin Gastelum in April.
However, ‘The Reaper’ turned the fight down and the opportunity went to Marvin Vettori instead, who will lock horns with the middleweight champion at UFC 263 this coming Saturday.
In a recent Q&A with Farah Hannoun for UFC Arabia, the head of the promotion, Dana White, answered if Robert Whittaker will get the winner of Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori by default.
The UFC president said that the matchmakers will certainly book a fight for Robert Whittaker whenever he wants to fight, but he is not sure if that will be the title fight immediately.
It’s quite evident that Whittaker turning down the title fight once made Dana White question if he is even ‘ready to be the next’ title challenger.
“Obviously, when he’s ready to fight, we’ll get him a fight. I can’t say ‘Oh, he’s definitely next’ because I don’t know if he’s ready to be next. I don’t know what he’s got planned or what’s going on… [Paulo] Costa just got the shot, [Robert] Whittaker was the no-brainer, he didn’t want the fight, Vettori is next,” Dana White said.
Dana White answered a number of other questions in the interview, including what he thought of Sunday’s Showtime pay-per-view match between Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul.
He also named the three UFC fighters he could see becoming future pay-per-view stars – Rose Namajunas, Brian Ortega and Kamaru Usman.
Check out the full interview below.
Robert Whittaker: I can see what Izzy is trying to do.
Despite wanting to fight for the UFC gold, Robert Whittaker would not have been physically ready to compete in June after fighting in April, he said in an ESPN interview after the UFC 263 main event was announced.
Robert Whittaker revealed that he had injuries from the Kelvin Gastelum fight that he had to recover from, fly home and undergo two weeks of mandatory isolation, and then go through a championship fight week by June if he was to take the bout, which was impossible for him to do.
The former middleweight champion shared that he felt like Israel Adesanya insisting to fight in June was a somewhat intentional ‘ploy’ on the part of ‘The Last Stylebender’ and his team, so that he could be less than prepared for the contest.
Israel Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman, on the other hand, has recently taken a shot at Robert Whittaker for passing up such an opportunity.
However, Izzy himself has given subtle hints that he is expecting to fight Robert Whittaker after Marvin Vettori, should he still remain the champion.
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