Robert Whittaker believes UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has the skills to defeat Paulo Costa. That being said, Whittaker sees Costa as a dangerous challenge for the champion.
The Australian talent broke down the Adesanya vs. Costa matchup, which is expected to occur at UFC 253 in September, during a media scrum ahead of his Saturday night showdown with Darren Till.
“Who can say? I think Adesanya has the skillset necessary to beat Costa,” Whittaker said during media day (via The Body Lock). “He’s very technical, he’s very good. He’s a good fighter. Don’t like him very much but he’s a good fighter.
“But Costa’s dangerous. He’s so explosive, he’s got mad cardio and he hits like a truck. Look at the size of him. I’m sure that does something, that has something to do with why he keeps hurting people. ‘Size doesn’t matter’ — look at the size of him! You fight him then and tell me it doesn’t matter. Yeah, let’s find out.”
Robert Whittaker has not fought since he took on Adesanya in October. He wound up losing the fight via knockout, which signalled the end of his reign as the UFC middleweight champion.
After the fight, Whittaker acknowledged that he was dealing with some mental health issues, and took an extended break, which will come to an end when he steps into the cage with Till.
“That second (Yoel) Romero fight, it took heaps out of me,” Whittaker explained. “And not just the fight itself, but the bullshit that surrounded it with my [injured] hand and so on. But you keep going. Even with the illnesses I had too, I was out of the Octagon but working twice as hard because I felt like I’d let a lot of people down. So while I wasn’t fighting, I never rested. You can’t say ‘hey, maybe I’m burnt out’. As soon as one fight is over, you have another title fight on the way.”
What do you think of this matchup breakdown from Robert Whittaker?