Whittaker and Adesanya went the distance at UFC 271 in a back and forth war. Whittaker had plenty of moments and looked improved from their first fight, but Adesanya was the more active in the later rounds and earned the unanimous decision win.
Whittaker felt he did enough to earn the win over Adesanya despite all three judges giving the reigning champion the decision. Most of the rounds were close, and some can be debated in Whittaker’s favor.
During his UFC 271 post-fight press conference, Whittaker spoke about his rivalry with Adesanya and what’s next for him.
“Pottery (laughs),” Whittaker said. “Nah. Honestly, a third fight between me and Izzy is inevitable, because I’m gonna stomp anybody who comes in front of me again, and he knows that too, that’s why he said ‘I’ll be seeing you in the future.’ And I don’t see him losing the belt anytime soon, he’s good, he is good. I think I am the person to beat him. My mission stays the same: beat the next guy in front of me.”
Whittaker went on to hint that he doesn’t plan on making it a long road back to the title and winning another three fights as he did before the rematch.
“Hopefully it will be quicker than that. I guess there’s obvious people I need to fight first—the people who I haven’t already beaten in the top ten. Then surely that puts me in a position to fight for the title again, especially considering how close this one was. Let’s be honest, there aren’t a lot of people in the top ten that I haven’t had it over. I don’t know, I’m not really thinking about it. I’m more thinking about going home to my family and just cruising.”
After getting knocked out by Adesanya at UFC 243, Whittaker went on to earn three-straight dominant wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum. He showed better patience on the feet over his previous few fights which he showcased at UFC 271.
Cannonier will more than likely get the next title shot after a win over Derek Brunson earlier in the night. While it’s unclear what Whittaker’s exact path back to another title shot could look like, he seems intent on getting his revenge over Adesanya.
Do you think we’ll see a trilogy between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker?