It’s no secret that former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is not a fan of the media obligations that coincide with being a top fighter.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, Whittaker admitted those obligations, along with other forms of pressure, made his time as a UFC titleholder a little unenjoyable.
“I didn’t really like it that much,” Whittaker admitted (via MMA Mania). “It’s one of those things that, it comes with some pros, but the cons really starting distracting me. There’s a lot of media, a lot of expectations and a lot of self-imposed pressure. It didn’t agree with me super-well.
“I’ve always been the sort of guy who just likes to fight. I like the challenge, I like the next opponent. I like to work at just how am going to beat you. Another thing is, I love being the underdog. I love people just writing me off like, ‘You’re going to lose.’ I love the struggle.”
Whittaker lost the title in October when he was knocked out by New Zealand’s Israel Adesanya.
With the title no longer wrapped around his waist, he says his priority is taking things one fight at a time — which is precisely what won him the title in the first place.
“The biggest thing for me is that even through my journey in the division, that was never the objective,” Whittaker said.. “The title was never the objective, it was a result of it.”
“I just focused one one fight after the next after the next. And I just enjoyed it, loved doing it. I am now hungrier than ever, honestly I can say that. I am excited for the next fight and I am excited for what the future brings for next year. And I just can’t wait to get back in there.”
What do you think of these comments from Robert Whittaker? What do you think should be next for the former champ?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 11/27/2019.