Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker believes that current champion Israel Adesanya prefers a matchup with Dricus Du Plessis instead of facing him for a third time. Adesanya already holds two victories over Whittaker in the title fights, including the most recent one at UFC 271, which was a closely contested battle. Since then, Whittaker rebounded with a unanimous decision win over Marvin Vettori, and he’s now slated to face the rising contender Du Plessis at UFC 290 on July 8.
Adesanya and Du Plessis have been engaged in a dramatic storyline, with the latter claiming to be the first African UFC champion, should he win the gold. Adesanya even went as far as to ask Du Plessis to “please win.” However, Whittaker believes that Adesanya would prefer not to fight him, as he poses the biggest threat to his reign in the division.
Please win. https://t.co/93bAvEe8xX
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) April 23, 2023
“He doesn’t want to fight me,” Whittaker told Fox Sports Australia. “I’m the hardest fight in the division for him. That first one, not so good for me. The second one, nearly. This third one, though, I have a really good feeling I am.”
Whittaker has been steadily evolving in his skills and improving his game with every fight. He believes that he’s the biggest threat to Adesanya and his title reign at present. However, he understands that Adesanya would prefer a matchup with Du Plessis, which he believes would be an easier fight for the champion.
“It’s a much easier fight, but it doesn’t bother me,” Whittaker said.
As Whittaker prepares to face Du Plessis, he’s determined to prove that he’s still a force to be reckoned with in the middleweight division. He’s confident that he can defeat Du Plessis and work his way back to another shot at the title. However, it remains to be seen if Adesanya will be waiting for him at the end of his journey.