UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is not worried about finishing Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 on Saturday night. Instead, the champ is planning on dragging his Kiwi challenger into a hellacious, five-round war.
If the finish materialized somewhere in the midst of that war, so be it.
Whittaker watched Adesanya’s recent five-round slobber-knocker with Kelvin Gastelum, and believes that if he can drag Adesanya a similarly brutal fight, the Kiwi will quit.
“I don’t think he’s going to be able to withstand the heat that I bring — and I’m not looking to finish him; I’m looking to drag this into a five-round war,” Whittaker said at Friday’s UFC 243 media day (via MMA Junkie). “I’m going to drag him into the trenches.
“I’m going to do what Gastelum did, but better. Let’s see if he wants to leave early.”
While Whittaker doubts that Adesanya can withstand this kind of five-round brawl, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect his foe’s skills. The champion simply believes he’s the better fighter — and he’s not done growing yet.
“I think (Adesanya) is super deadly,” Whittaker said. “I think he’s a very talented and great fighter, but hell, I’m still up-and-coming, you know? I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon.
“Honestly, I am more excited for how I come out of this fight, for the work that I’ll put in after this fight to the fighter that I’m going to become from this fight, because every year, I’m getting better. Every year, I have harder fights, and I’ve got a lot of years left in me.”
“Obviously, I’m not looking past Israel. He’s a very hard opponent, and honestly, it’s going to be a very hard fight, and I know this. I’ve prepared for this. But, the only sure thing that I know after this fight is that Monday I’m going to go home and see my kids. That’s it.”
What do you think of these comments from Robert Whittaker? Do you think he’ll defeat Israel Adesanya at UFC 243?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/4/2019.