Robert Whittaker explains when he’s likely to “bow out” of MMA competition

Robert Whittaker
Image via @robwhittakermma on Instagram

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker isn’t sure when he’ll retire from mixed martial arts, but he certainly seems to have a rough sense.

During a recent appearance on MMA Fighting‘s What The Heck show, Whittaker weighed in on the career of Anderson Silva, who competed in his final UFC bout late last month at the age of 45.

While Whittaker has plenty of respect for the MMA legend, he also recognizes that the Brazilian has lost a step.

“You can see that his timing is half a second off, he can’t take the shots like he could when he was younger, he doesn’t hit quite as hard,” Whittaker said. “Anderson Silva back in his prime, he couldn’t get touched, and when he got touched he shrugged off everything. He was unstoppable, he was uncanny, but it required the perfect balance of youth and physical attributes and talent. Whereas now he’s experienced and the talent is obviously there, that’s why he’s still competitive, that’s why he’s still doing so well, but his youth and his physical attributes have declined a little bit. When you’re fighting top-caliber dudes, top-tier guys, like young, hungry, physical guys – look at the specimen of Uriah Hall. You’re fighting a dude that’s in the prime of his physical abilities and with the talent to go with it, it’s just scary.”

The topic of Silva’s retirement from MMA led to Whittaker discussing his own exit from the sport. The Australian, who still hasn’t turned 30, says he sees 35 as a likely age for his swan song, but clarified that it will all depend on how he’s feeling physically.

“This game is stressful,” Whittaker said. “That’s another thing, these guys that fight throughout their late 30s, early 40s, this game never gets easier. Every fight, never gets easier. The stresses and the nerves are always there. Like, always. I don’t know why they just keep throwing themselves into this game. It is crazy, in my opinion.

“I have a soft cap, and I’m obviously going to go on how my body feels, but if I start getting knocked out and start losing, my health comes first – I’m gonna just bow out,” Whittaker added. “Let’s say, touch wood, I’m not performing as well as I want to at 35, then I’m gonna be in the prime physique to still run circles around my kids, which sounds like a pretty good gig,” Whittaker said.

What do you think of these comments from Robert Whittaker?