Robert Whittaker: Israel Adesanya fighting for a UFC title again ‘hurts me’

The possibility of Israel Adesanya becoming champion again doesn’t spell out good news for Robert Whittaker.

Middleweight champion Dricus Du Plessis hinted in an Instagram post that he could be defending his title against Adesanya (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) at UFC 305 Aug. 17 at RAC Arena in Perth, Western Australia.

“Looks like someone wants another beating in Aus..
I’m in, I also wouldn’t want to fight the king of Africa on home soil. Manifestations working good for you AGAIN!”

Whittaker’s fight vs. Khamzat Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) June 22 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was declared a No. 1 contender bout by UFC CEO Dana White.

But considering that Whittaker (25-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) has already lost to Adesanya twice in title fights, “The Stylebender” becoming champion could harm his chances at another title shot.

“I think Adesanya fighting for a title again hurts me, but I understand,” Whittaker said on his MMArcade Podcast. “Dricus asked for it. He’s the champ, gets what he wants. Adesanya is a draw. Mate, it seems like the fight that was going to happen, in my opinion.”

If Adesanya is indeed next, he will look to rebound from his upset championship loss to Sean Strickland this past September at UFC 293. Whittaker broke down how he sees the former champion fairing against Du Plessis.

“It’s an interesting fight,” Whittaker said. “I can see Adesanya just piecing him up for five rounds. But in saying that, Dricus is tough as nails, and he’s awkward. I can also see Dricus just getting in there and just making it awkward, and taking him out of his rhythm.

“We saw when Adesanya fought Strickland, Strickland pushing that pace and moving into his space changed the rhythm of the fight. Adesanya didn’t adapt to that very well. I think if Dricus does the same, he might have the same sort of success.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie