Sunday, October 2, 2022

Robert Whittaker Reveals One Reason He Hasn’t Trained With Jon Jones

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will throw down in the biggest fight of his career later this year.

‘The Reaper’ will take on interim champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of October’s UFC 243 from Melbourne, Australia. Needless to say, it’s already been a trash talk-filled buildup between the two 185-pound belt holders. That’s something usually not seen from the more reserved Whittaker.

Yet it seems he’s growing more and more accustomed to it heading into this fight. One man who is far from averse to talking a little smack is the man who rules up a division from middleweight. That’s legendary light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, of course. “Bones'” beef with Adesanya is well-documented by now, so much so that Jones even offered to train Whittaker to defeat the Nigerian-born “Stylebender.”

Buds With “Bones?”

Whittaker was asked about the possibility during an appearance on today’s episode of ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,’ to which he revealed his relationship with Jones. He said he’d love to train with ”Bones,’ but one major aspect was preventing it:

“Um, I’m sure it would, you know, if he didn’t live twenty-something hours away. It’s just yeah, the whole distance thing. Me and Jon are cool. Yeah, we’ve talked a lot back and forth and he’s a cool guy, he’s a straight guy. And I’m sure I’d get some work with him, but yeah, he lives in another country.”

Whittaker said he and Jones have talked over the phone on multiple occasions:

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like, I’ve spoken to Jon numerous times over the phone.”

No Gameplans Discussed – Yet

Questioned if their conversation centered on defeating Adesanya to Helwani, Whittaker said it was more about training:

“No, just about training together and getting together and maybe getting some training in.”

Probed again if he had discussed a gameplan to beat ‘The Last Stylebender’ with Jones, Whittaker seemed to trip over his words a bit. He composed himself and claimed it just wasn’t true, however. ‘The Reaper’ informed Helwani that wouldn’t be something you’d usually just drop over the phone:

“No, no. I don’t think, he wouldn’t, you don’t drop that on someone.”

There’s no doubt that Whittaker has struggled to catch on as a popular champion in the Western Hemisphere. It’s not for a lack of action in his fight, as they’ve been barnburners for years. But his few Octagon appearances in the last two years don’t help things in the fast-paced world of MMA.

Perhaps inserting himself in the booming ‘Bones’ vs. Adesanya beef is the best way to drum up some hype and attention on himself in another way. In that sense, it’d be a good move for Whittaker because he’d gain headlines without talking all-out trash.

Will an association with ‘Bones’ help or hurt Robert Whittaker in his rivalry with Israel Adesanya?

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