After being discharged from the hospital following an emergency hernia surgery on Saturday evening, Robert Whittaker has spoken at length about the aftermath of UFC 234 and his status as middleweight champion.
At the pay per view, which was intended to organically sort the matchmaking for the next middleweight title match with a main event of Whittaker defending against Kelvin Gastelum and a co-main event of Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva in a #1 contender bout, we instead saw Kelvin Gastelum become the new self-proclaimed middleweight champion and Israel Adesanya, who was victorious in his bout against Anderson Silva, stake his claim to #1 contenderhood. Both Gastelum and Adesanya have floated and/or launched the idea of Whittaker being stripped so that the division could move forward. Whittaker would scoff at this suggestion on his YouTube Channel, Grange TV (Transcription via MMA Fighting):
“It’s only been nine months since my last fight,” said Whittaker. “I’ll be back in there before you know it. I’m trying to get my health up to date and get back to training and then I’ll fight soon enough. I’m not looking to take any long periods of time off. Obviously, I’m itching for a fight.”
Robert Whittaker admits to not having inside information on how the UFC will proceed, yet he feels secure in his status as middleweight champion:
“I’m not worried,” Whittaker said. “I don’t know what the UFC want to do with Gastelum and Adesanya now because obviously, I’ve heard a lot of things. How the UFC wants to go about lining up either Gastelum still or Adesanya or getting them to fight someone before, I think it certainly spices up the division. [Yoel] Romero and [Paulo] Costa have been calling out Adesanya. I know that there’s lifeblood in the division.”
Both Robert Whittaker’s manager as well as the Gastelum camp have expressed an estimated return to action of June or July, which may be when we can expect a potential second take of a Whittaker/Gastelum title bout.
Do you believe Robert Whittaker should be stripped of the middleweight championship?