Robert Whittaker, the MMA powerhouse, is about to grace us with his presence once again at UFC 290. And let me tell you, he’s not taking anything for granted. I mean, why would he? He’s only the overwhelming favorite to defeat Dricus Du Plessis and earn the coveted title shot against current champ Israel Adesanya. No pressure or anything.
Whittaker has been a force to be reckoned with in the UFC middleweight division. With a perfect 12-0 record against everyone not named Adesanya since 2014, it’s safe to say that this guy knows what he’s doing. But hey, who needs experience when you’ve got an unbeaten streak of your own? That’s right, Du Plessis comes into this fight with an impressive 5-0 record in the UFC. However, let’s not ignore the fact that he hasn’t faced anyone even remotely close to Whittaker’s level of skill. Poor guy doesn’t stand a chance.
But hold on just one second! Whittaker isn’t counting his chickens before they’re hatched. He knows that fights aren’t won on paper, even though it would make things a whole lot easier if they were. In an interview on the UFC Vegas 75 post-fight show, Whittaker acknowledged the threat that Du Plessis poses and made sure to give him credit where credit is due.
Whittaker said, “I do believe that is one of the major reasons why Dricus has had the success he’s had because he’s going up against these dudes who are not giving him the respect his skill set deserves. I fully understand that I have bled and sweat and trained my butt off to take the war to him come UFC 290.” Well said, Whittaker! Show ’em what you’re made of.
Now, let’s talk about Whittaker’s nemesis: Israel Adesanya. These two have quite a history together. They’ve faced each other twice before, and unfortunately for Whittaker, both times didn’t end in his favor. First came the brutal second-round knockout at UFC 243 in October 2019, followed by a more competitive unanimous decision loss in their rematch at UFC 271 in February 2022.
But Whittaker isn’t one to back down. After his loss to Adesanya, he rebounded with a decision victory over Marvin Vettori last September. And let me tell you, this guy continues to impress every time he steps into the cage. He’s constantly evolving and adding new skills to his repertoire.
Whittaker said, “You’re seeing new skill sets and skill sets that I previously had better than the last time.” It seems like there’s no stopping him when it comes to improving his game. And Du Plessis is about to witness firsthand just how far Whittaker has come.
UFC President Dana White has already confirmed that the winner of the Whittaker vs. Du Plessis fight will be next in line for a shot at Adesanya’s belt. Talk about pressure! The stakes are high, but Whittaker is ready for whatever challenge lies ahead.
The UFC is eyeing Sept. 10 in Sydney for Adesanya’s next title defense at UFC 293. That gives Whittaker little time to recover if he manages to defeat Du Plessis at UFC 290, but hey, who needs rest anyway? This man is prepared for anything.
Whittaker said, “I definitely am not looking past Dricus… But I’ll tell you one thing: If I’m healthy and able, I will take a fight at any date, any time.” Well, we certainly can’t accuse him of being hesitant or picky. Whittaker is all in when it comes to the fight game.
Robert Whittaker believes UFC middleweights keep underestimating Dricus Du Plessis, ‘major’ reason for his success