Israel Adesanya has admitted that he has respect for past-foe, former undisputed UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker for accepting his loss and the effects pre-fight mind games had on his performance. But now expects to finish him in an even worse fashion to ultimately shut him up at UFC 271 in February.
Adesanya, the promotion’s current undisputed middleweight champion, is scheduled to take main event honors at UFC 271 on February 12. from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas – tackling Whittaker in a rematch of their October 2019 clash.
Successfully unifying the middleweight championships at UFC 243 in Melbourne more than two years ago, then-interim titleholder, Adesanya stopped Whittaker with a second round knockout in a rather one-sided victory.
In the time since, Adesanya has successfully defended his middleweight crown against the trio of Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori – in between a light heavyweight championship challenge loss to Yan Blachowicz at UFC 259 back in March. The loss came as Adesanya’s first in professional mixed martial arts.
For fan favorite striker, Whittaker, the former undisputed champion enters his pivotal rematch against Adesanya in the midst of a three-fight winning spree since dropping his title, including a trio of unanimous decision wins over common-foe, Kelvin Gastelum, as well as Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.
Sharing his thoughts on his upcoming rematch with Whittaker, City Kickboxing staple, Adesanya claimed that he plans to firmly shut the challenger up come February, appearing to take umbrage with Whittaker’s reluctance to claim he had utilized pre-fight mind games to get under his skin.
“He’s (Robert Whittaker) accepted his loss,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “He finally admitted that I was in his head, and he was emotional, and I was like, ‘Yeah, you finally admitted what I was saying this whole f*cking time.’”
“So, that makes me take him seriously,” Adesanya continued. “He’s accepted that, so that makes me take him seriously that okay, he’s got a point to prove, as well. He’s been training, he’s motivated. That gets me up in the morning to shut him up again worse than the first time. That’s what gets me motivated.” (Transcribed by MMAFighting)
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