Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker provided fans with an update on his headspace ahead of his Fight Island battle against Darren Till.
For Whittaker, Saturday’s fight against Till represents his return to the Octagon after a nine-month hiatus after he lost his belt to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 last October. He needed to take a break due to feeling burned out and dealing with mental health struggles, which he has been open about publicly. After taking a much-needed break to deal with his personal issues, Whittaker will now look to get back in the win column against Till.
Speaking to Bleacher Report ahead of his showdown with Till, Whittaker promised fans that he’s feeling much “happier” and will put on a great fight for them.
“The Robert Whittaker (fans are) going to get is a happier one. A much happier one. I’m doing everything I’m doing for me and my family. One, because I enjoy it. And two, ’cause it’s how I provide for my family. (I’m) very ready to go,” Whittaker said.
The Aussie further explained why he decided to take a break from the sport in the prime of his career, and described to fans what dealing with those mental health issues felt like.
“I have trials and tribulations. I kind of thought that I’d get through this with nothing: don’t worry about it, ignore it, push it to the side, get through it. Then you do that for six months, a year, a year-and-a-half. It just eats at you. It’s like the ocean. It just weathers the storm,” Whittaker said.
“I’d been mulling (a break), but again, the whole time it was like, ‘it’s not this, it’s not me, it’ll go away.’ So after the Adesanya fight, and I was no longer the champ, there were no longer the same stresses, the same pressures to do things, so I was like, ‘I’m going to take some time out.’ It was uncertain. Uncertain is a good word. It was very uncertain. I didn’t know where I was going to go or what I was going to do.”
Although Whittaker is coming off of a KO loss to Adesanya, a big win over Till could see him get right back in the conversation for the title. The goal for Whittaker is always to be the world champion, but after going through everything’s that he’s gone through the last year personally, just getting in the Octagon is a win regardless of what happens in there.
Do you think Robert Whittaker will defeat Darren Till?