Former UFC champ Robert Whittaker denies turning down Khamzat Chimaev fight

Robert Whittaker is apparently awaiting the winner of Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya II, so a fight with Khamzat Chimaev was never offered.

By: Kristen King | 2 months ago
Former UFC champ Robert Whittaker denies turning down Khamzat Chimaev fight
Robert Whittaker Aus / Noir vs Marvin Vettori Ita / Vert - Middleweight - Combat co Principal MMA : Soiree UFC 279 - Paris Accor Hotel Arena - 03/09/2022 JBAutissier/Panoramic PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRAxITAxBEL

Robert Whittaker says the UFC has not offered him Khamzat Chimaev as a potential opponent, contrary to what the latter has claimed. 

This past March, Chimaev appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and said that he accepted ‘three, four’ fights against names such as Colby Covington, Alex Pereira and the aforementioned Whittaker — all of which never materialized for one reason or another. Since ‘Borz’ claimed Covington and Pereira rejected offers, some thought Whittaker had done the same. 

However, the ‘Reaper’ has denied doing so. 

“Someone said that Chimaev said that [the UFC] offered me a fight and I turned it down,” said Whittaker on his MMArcade podcast. “I was never offered a fight with Chimaev. And that’s that. I haven’t been offered any fight. I’ve been just waiting.”

Robert Whittaker hints at waiting for Pereira vs. Adesanya II winner

Following his unanimous decision win against Marvin Vettori at UFC Paris this past September, Whittaker was paired against Paulo Costa — a fight that was considered a potential No. 1 contender. At the time, ‘Borrachinha’ was in ongoing negotiations with the promotion and failed to come to terms on a new contract, so his previously announced fight with Whittaker was canceled

Though he originally wanted to get rescheduled for an event in March or April, Whittaker was given another option to consider: wait for the winner of the championship rematch between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya. ‘Po Atan’ and the ‘Last Stylebender’ face each other again at UFC 287 on Saturday, and it appears as though Whittaker could get the winner. 

“I’m sure I could’ve asked for someone in the meanwhile,” said Whittaker. “I’ve been talking to the UFC and I’ve been asking [them] what’s up and the communication has been, ‘Let’s wait and see what happens with this title shot.’ I have not received any sort of written contract saying, ‘Do you want to fight Chimaev in X, Y or Z?’ That’s not something that has been presented to me. Just clarifying that.” 

What did Robert Whittaker previously say about Khamzat Chimaev?

It is worth nothing that when asked about fighting Chimaev, the former UFC middleweight champion said it would be an ‘interesting’ challenge.

“Oh yeah, cool,” said Whittaker in an interview with Submission Radio. “Let’s do it. Whatever. Yeah, I don’t know. Like, if it’s a fight that gets presented to me, then it is what it is. Yeah, I think it’d be a good fight. I think he’d be a hard fight. I think he’s a phenomenal fighter. I think he has a lot of strengths. I think I have a lot of strengths. I think I’m a hard fighter for him just the same. I’m quite good with my hands, can stuff a lot of takedowns. I’m hard to hold down. I’m squirmy, you see.

“Yeah, it’ll be an interesting fight,” continued Whittaker. “That’ll be a showstopper, for sure. I’m sure it’ll get a lot of people interested and excited.”

Share this story

About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

More from the author

Related Stories