Robert Whittaker Eyes July Return Against Marvin Vettori, Welcomes Eventual Light Heavyweight Leap

    ByRoss Markey

    Feb 23, 2022
    Robert Whittaker

    Former UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker has addressed his future in the division following a second career loss to current titleholder, Israel Adesanya, and insists he plans to return by the end of the summer, earmarking Marvin Vettori as a potential opponent, as well as suggesting a future light heavyweight division climb.

    Whittaker, a former undisputed middleweight champion, headlined UFC 271 earlier this month in a championship rematch against Adesanya, attempting to become a two-time titleholder and avenge his October 2019 knockout loss.

    Suffering his second career loss the City Kickboxing staple, Whittaker dropped a close unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) defeat to the defending gold holder, turning in a much better performance this time around, as well as landing four successful takedowns against Adesanya.

    The loss snapped a three-fight run of victories for Whittaker since his first loss to Adesanya – landing decision victories over Darren Till, common-foe, Kelvin Gastelum, as well as likely next title chaser, Jared Cannonier.

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    Whittaker, who noted his intentions to make a quickfire Octagon return before the culmination of the summer, admitted that a matchup with one-time title challenger, Vettori seemed like the next logical step for the duo in a pair to earn a third tilt against Adesanya.

    “I think (Israel Adesanya) fights (Jared) Cannonier next, and then I think I fight someone in the division,” Robert Whittaker told Submission Radio. “I don’t know how many people are left. Probably (Marvin) Vettori? Yeah, he would have to be the highest-ranking next up, I believe. I’m looking forward to (fighting again soon). I’m going to enjoy a little break now and then get back in the gym, probably look for like a July, August sort of return. I think that will be good, because then I can get a third one in at the end of the year. So, I think that’s good timing for me. But, yeah, that’ very rough, very rough.”

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    Whittaker, who competed at the welterweight limit during his initial tenure with the UFC, admitted that a move to the light heavyweight class of 205lbs is a move that piques his interest, claiming that stylistically, a leap the weight class suits him.

    “Yeah, I can definitely see myself fighting at 205lbs,” Robert Whittaker explained. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, because I have to cut to middleweight cutting sucks. So I think it might be fun. Obviously, I do understand the gravity of going up to 205. The bigger guys, the taller guys, longer reach, heavier-set guys, more power. But I think stylistically I have the style to move up to a heavier power division. But honestly, I’ll take it as it comes. It might be something fun to move up and have a dabble at, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

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    For Trento native, Vettori, the one-time middleweight title challenger managed to solidify his rank as the #3 ranked contender in the division back in October – landing a close unanimous judging win over fellow one-time championship chaser, Paulo Costa in a light heavyweight main event.