Robert Whittaker could have sat on the sidelines and waited to fight the winner of the upcoming middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa at UFC 253, but ‘The Reaper’ decided to accept a fight against Jared Cannonier instead.
Why? Because the former UFC middleweight champion wants to be more active going forward and is healthy and in good shape following his decision win over Darren Till at UFC on Fight Island 3 last month.
“My thoughts on him are he’s a dangerous guy, like very dangerous,” Whittaker told SiriusXM Fight Nation (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA) “He’s got knockout power. He’s tough, he’s relentless. He goes forward, just pressures you and beats you up. That’s his whole thing, he’s a real big bully fighter, but he’s resilient to all other angles. You take him down, he gets back up. You try to bang with him, and he out-toughs you, and he’s got heavy leather.
“I guess where I stand on the matter, is that I think I’m just better than him across the board, I think I’m better striking, I think I’m faster, I think I can move faster. I think if I wanted to take it to the ground, I can mix that in and make it a terrible night for him. And I am tough enough, and I have the cardio to go the entire distance, to drag it out, to make it a war of attrition with him. I think I can take this fight to a place that will make him very, very uncomfortable.”
️ “I think I can take this fight to a place that will make him very, very uncomfortable,” @robwhittakermma discusses his upcoming fight with Jared Cannonier and explains why he took this bout instead of waiting for a title shot. @RyanMcKinnell @MieshaTate pic.twitter.com/688URzV7AM
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) August 5, 2020
“I’m done waiting,” he added. “I’m done having such long periods of time before fights.
“For one, it’s my trade, it’s what I do to make a living. To be honest, it’s not a bad job. Two, I enjoy fighting. That’s what I enjoy doing. I’m good right now, I’m healthy. Why shouldn’t I fight again? I have nothing planned for October.”
Whittaker suffered a mental burnout earlier this year but the Australian appears to be reinvigorated after a taking much-needed layoff and making changes to his training regimen.
UFC 254, which will feature Khabib vs. Gaethje as the main event, is scheduled to take place on Oct. 24 at a TBD location.
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