Robert Whittaker explains why it was impossible for him to accept a rematch with Israel Adesanya at UFC 263

Robert Whittaker, Joe Rogan

Robert Whittaker explained why it was impossible for him to accept a rematch with UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 263.

Whittaker defeated Kelvin Gastelum at last weekend’s UFC Vegas 24 event to improve to 3-0 since losing his belt to Adesanya at UFC 243. The Aussie was widely expected to be next in line to fight for the title, but the UFC did an about-face this week and gave Marvin Vettori the title shot instead. That decision led to a lot of chatter amongst fight fans, who believed that Whittaker should have been the next man in line. But according to Whittaker, he actually was offered the fight, only the conditions made the fight impossible to take.

Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Whittaker explained the circumstances of when he was offered the fight with Adesanya, and why he was forced to say no to the title shot.

“More or less, I was offered the fight about an hour after my fight with Gastelum. There was just no way, physically, I could do that. Not only do I have injuries from that last fight to deal with, I have to fly home to Australia, and then two weeks in [mandatory] isolation. I have to see how my body was feeling, and then I’d have to prepare; all by June. It was impossible,” Whittaker said.

Whittaker also belives that Adesanya wanted to fight him while he isn’t at 100%, but “Bobby Knuckles” will wait until the circumstances are better for him to take the fight.

“I can see what Izzy is trying to do. He’s trying to get me to accept the fight injured, on short notice, with all odds against me, but there was just no way I could get there physically. I do want that fight, and my next fight will be for the title. It has to be. He was just really adamant about fighting on that date and I can’t do it. I’m happy to fight the winner after,” Whittaker said.

Do you think the UFC should have waited for Robert Whittaker or did the promotion make the right call booking Marvin Vettori against Israel Adesanya at UFC 263?

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