Cancel UFC 290 fight, says former title challenger

A former UFC title challenger went off on UFC matchmaking and said company needs to cut a main card fight from UFC 290.

By: Tim Bissell | 1 month ago
Cancel UFC 290 fight, says former title challenger
Robert Whittaker leaving the cage at UFC 279. He is scheduled to face Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290.

At UFC 290, former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is due to meet rising title threat Dricus Du Plessis in a bout that could determine the next challenger for champion Israel Adesanya. UFC 290 is expected to be headlined by Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez in a UFC featherweight title reunification bout and co-headlined by a UFC flyweight title championship between Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja. The card also features appearances by Bo Nickal, Robbie Lawler and Dan Hooker. However, a former UFC title contender doesn’t want to see Whittaker vs. Du Plessis on this stacked card.

What did Chael Sonnen say?

Ex UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen recently voiced his displeasure about the Whittaker vs. Du Plessis match-up, asking “what are we doing?” on his YouTube channel.

“It’s not too late. We shouldn’t have made Du Plessis vs. Whittaker, should have we?” said Sonnen before suggesting that Du Plessis is the obvious next title challenger for Adesanya.

“We should’ve made Du Plessis vs. Adesanya, shouldn’t have we guys? I mean, Izzy says, ‘I’m not going to fight anybody else until I fight him.’ Izzy doesn’t care if he doesn’t beat Whittaker. Are you aware of that? It’s very important that you understand this. When Izzy says, ‘I won’t fight anybody until I fight him,’ that was not Izzy coming out and saying, ‘I predict that he beats Whittaker.’ As a matter of fact, Izzy predicts that Whittaker is going to beat Du Plessis. Izzy doesn’t care if he is coming off a loss. He doesn’t care if he’s coming off a knockout humiliating defeat, he’s going to fight him next.”

Sonnen went on to say it would be bad if “the inmates were running the asylum” in the UFC, but believed this is a case where Adesanya should be able to call his shot.

“When you have a guy with that much good will, who has done everything that he’s said he was going to do, and he is now saying, ‘I am not getting in there unless it’s against him … I would understand why you can’t give into that. Believe me, I would. … It’s not like he’s calling for an easy fight.”

Sonnen then repeated that he thinks the UFC needs to pull Whittaker vs. Du Plessis from UFC 290, immediately.

Both Whittaker and Du Plessis have history with Adesanya

Should Dricus Du Plessis get a title shot against Israel Adesanya the promotion for the fight will lean heavily on the war of words the pair have been embroiled in. The contentious back and forth between the pair stems from Du Plessis, a white South African, claiming he and others like him are the only ‘African’ fighters in the UFC, despite there being many African fighters who have plied their trade in the Octagon during DDP’s time in the spotlight.

Du Plessis has won all five of his UFC contests. Last time out, at UFC 285, he scored a TKO over Derek Brunson. Before that he submitted Darren Till.

Robert Whittaker also has history with Adesanya. He’s fought The Last StyleBender twice. He lost his UFC middleweight title to Adesanya in 2019 via second round TKO. In 2022 he unsuccessfully challenged Adesanya for the title, losing by unanimous decision.

In his last fight Whittaker took a unanimous decision win over Marvin Vettori.

When is UFC 290?

UFC 290 is set for July 8, 2023 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will be broadcast on ESPN+ PPV.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

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