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Robert Whittaker says Israel Adesanya doesn’t want trilogy: ‘I’m the biggest threat to his reign’

Robert Whittaker thinks Israel Adesanya would much rather face Dricus Du Plessis.

Middleweight champion Adesanya (24-2 MMA, 13-2 UFC) has already defeated Whittaker (24-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) twice in title fights – most recently by close decision at UFC 271.

Whittaker rebounded with a unanimous decision win over former title challenger Marvin Vettori, and is now booked against rising contender Dricus Du Plessis (19-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) at UFC 290 on July 8.

Adesanya and Du Plessis have gone back-and-forth over Du Plessis’ claim of being the first African UFC champion, should the South African win gold. Adesanya even went as far as to ask Du Plessis to “please win.”

Regardless of the dramatic storyline involved with a Du Plessis booking, Whittaker thinks Adesanya would rather not fight him.

“He doesn’t want to fight me,” Whittaker told Fox Sports Australia. “I’m the hardest fight in the division for him. That first one, not so good for me. The second one, nearly. This third one though, I have a really good feeling I am.

“I’ve been evolving every fight, you can see it. If you watch back my fights, every fight I’ve been getting better. I think I’m the biggest threat to him and his reign at the present moment. So, of course he wants him (Du Plessis) to win. It’s a much easier fight, but it doesn’t bother me.”

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Robert Whittaker keen to take UFC title from Israel Adesanya: 'I'm never gonna stop hunting him'

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Adesanya dethroned Whittaker at UFC 243 by knockout. He then retained his title by unanimous decision in their rematch over two years later at UFC 271, where Whittaker was able to take him down four times.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 290.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie