UFC president Dana White suggested a matchup between middleweight contenders Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier to determine the next title challenger.
Whittaker is coming off of a unanimous decision win over Darren Till at UFC Fight Island 3, while Cannonier is coming off of three straight TKO wins over Jack Hermansson, Anderson Silva, and David Branch. The UFC middleweight title will be on the line in September when champion Israel Adesanya takes on Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC 253, and White and the UFC matchmakers are already thinking about who will get the next title shot.
Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, White suggested a No. 1 contender matchup between Whittaker and Cannonier to determine who should be next in line for a title shot at 185lbs.
“You got Cannonier in there. Do you do Cannonier vs. Whittaker? I mean, that’s a really good fight to find out who fights the winner of Adesanya vs. Costa,” White said.
Based on the rankings, a No. 1 contender matchup between Whittaker and Cannonier would certainly make a whole lot of sense. Whittaker is currently ranked No. 1 with Cannonier ranked at No. 3. With No. 2 Costa getting the next title shot and No. 4 Yoel Romero already getting his crack at the belt, a fight between Whittaker and Cannonier certainly seems like the perfect fit, and it seems like White likes the matchup as well.
There are also some other fighters to keep your eye on at 185lbs, including the aforementioned No. 6 ranked Hermansson, who just tapped out former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum, the No. 7 ranked welterweight, with a first-round heel hook at UFC Fight Island 3. The winner of Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan, the No. 8 and No. 9 middleweights, respectively, could also play a role in the title picture going forward. No. 5 Darren Till, meanwhile, would probably need a few more wins after losing to Whittaker.
Adesanya has already fought once this year against Romero at UFC 248 and will take on Costa at UFC 253. Should he win that fight, it seems unlikely he would fight for the third time in 2020, and if Costa wins he would probably return in 2021, as well. That means that Whittaker and Cannonier will probably have to wait around for a while, making a matchup between the two of them in the next few months perhaps the best possible option.
Do you like the idea Dana White presented of a matchup between Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier for the next UFC middleweight title shot?