Robert Whittaker captured the UFC interim middleweight title with a July, 2017 defeat of Yoel Romero. He was then promoted to undisputed champion when Georges St-Pierre vacated the undisputed title in late 2017. Current interim champ Israel Adesanya, who fights Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in October, believes Whittaker’s unconventional road to middleweight gold casts doubt on his status as a legitimate champion.
“How the f*ck is he champion when he’s the interim champion?,” Adesanya said on Submission Radio (transcript via MMA Fighting). “How did he win the interim belt off Romero and he got the unified belt? Who did he beat? Has he defended his belt? How? He was the interim champ. He is the interim champ. He never actually won the real belt. He never actually won the real belt. He was the interim champ and still is the interim champ. And he hasn’t really done much work. I’ve has six fights in one year, what has he done the last three years? So, if they want to keep throwing that interim sh*t around – cause I checked my belt, it don’t say no interim. And my belt’s on that new flex.”
“I’m going to put a wager out there and see if he makes it to the fight,” Adesanya said. “Cause for me, I’m keeping that same energy with the way I train. If he is… is he gonna make it to the fight? So, I’m prepared for him, but I don’t know if he’s gonna make it to the fight. That’s just history.”
“They should put a wager on ‘will Robert make it to this fight? Will he pull out of this fight?’ and put odds on that based on all his other fights. That should be a new wager that gets added to the odds.”
What do you think of these comments from Israel Adesanya?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/20/2019.