New UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes he will eventually see former champ Robert Whitaker in the Octagon again one day. Despite knocking Whittaker out in devastating fashion in the second round of their UFC 243 main event fight, Adesanya doesn’t believe it will be the last time he meets Whittaker in the cage.
“The Last Stylebender” spoke to reporters at the UFC 243 post-fight press conference and said that he expects to eventually have a rematch with “The Reaper.”
“I told (Whittaker) in the Octagon, ‘I’ll see you again,'” Adesanya said.
The new champ said that he had an emotional exchange with his rival inside the Octagon, giving the former champion praise despite some pre-fight trash talk between the two.
“I said, ‘I’m greater than I think I am’ cause that was my alarm for the last 12 weeks when I wake up. It says ‘UFC 243 be greater than you think you are.’ Because he said, ‘That Israel fella, he’s not as good as he thinks he is.’ So I said, ‘You don’t know how I think I am. I’m great. You don’t know me.’ So for someone to tell me how to be me, it’s not personal but I just used it as like a little fuel.
“So I told him, ‘I’m greater than I think I am and so are you.’ I said I’ll see him again, definitely. He’ll definitely work his way up. I said, ‘Probably in two fights I’ll see you again.'”
For now, Adesanya seems destined for a fight against top-ranked contender Paulo Costa, who has exchanged some choice words with the new champ on social media. As for Whittaker, the former champ will need to bounce back in his next fight with a win to get back in the thick of things. But like Adesanya said, Whittaker is not that far away from getting another title shot in the UFC middleweight division.
“Robert’s a beast,” Adesanya said.
How do you think a rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker would play out?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/7/2019.