Israel Adesanya welcomes trilogy fight at UFC 293

Israel Adesanya is open to a trilogy with Robert Whittaker if the latter get through Dricus Du Plessis next.

By: Kristen King | 4 months ago
Israel Adesanya welcomes trilogy fight at UFC 293
Israel Adesanya punches Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in 2019 | IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

When Israel Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker for a second time, the reigning UFC middleweight champion said there was no need to revisit him for a third. On his résumé, the ‘Last Stylebender’ has a second-round KO and a decision against the ‘Reaper,’ so fighting him again was of little to no interest to Adesanya. 

“I’ll give it to him, he’s a great fighter, but I know how that book ends,” said Adesanya at a press conference for UFC 276 and UFC 277. “I’ve read that book twice already. First time was a quick read, second time was a little bit longer. He’s probably going to be at the top for a while, but if we fight again, I know how that book ends.

“…I’ve read that book already, and I don’t like reading the same book over and over again.”

Israel Adesanya talks Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis

As it turned out, Whittaker was indeed at the top for a while, and the former UFC middleweight champion has once again fought his way to contention. Now he has a No. 1 contender fight in front of him against Dricus Du Plessis, who Whittaker shares the Octagon with at UFC 290, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for July 9 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC president Dana White confirmed the winner of Whittaker vs. Du Plessis challenges Adesanya next. And if Whittaker wins, then Adesanya may have to do some re-reading. 

In terms of the fight, Adesanya is leaning towards Whittaker defeating Du Plessis, but he admits he ‘really wants’ ’Stillknocks’ to get it done. 

“This is the game we play,” said Adesanya on his official YouTube channel. “F—k, I just [realized] it is three rounds. Percentage? I say Rob can probably finish him. I’d say Rob can probably get him out of there in the second round, or just beat him up for three rounds. 

“Dricus’ only chance — I don’t like to say there’s no way, because there’s always a way, but he can’t outlast Rob,” continued Adesanya. “I think Rob will be faster than him, fitter than him, so yeah. He might just have to make it ugly. Rob can also fight ugly as well, so we’ll see. Honestly, 70 [percent chance Whittaker wins], but I really want Dricus.”

Israel Adesanya welcomes trilogy with Robert Whittaker

Adesanya and Du Plessis have argued over some comments the latter said regarding who should be considered ‘an African champion’ in the UFC. The City Kickboxing product responded, warning the South African native to ‘choose your words wisely,’ or else he would ‘gladly drag his carcass across South Africa’ if they fought. 

However, Du Plessis has to get through Whittaker, who is easily the stiffest test of his UFC career thus far. And since the ‘Reaper’ has a penchant for staving off fast-rising contenders, Adesanya is preparing himself for a trilogy. 

“I think there’s another story there,” said Adesanya. “It’s in a new city in Australia, another stadium, I’m sure. This one, it’ll be a nice day. It can be in Sydney. I like it in Sydney. It will be a nice day, a sunshine-y day.”

When is Israel Adesanya fighting again?

After his second-round KO of Alex Pereira at UFC 287 this past April, Israel Adesanya expects to return at UFC 293, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for Sept. 10, at a soon-to-be-determined venue in Sydney, Australia. 

Thank you for reading this article. Please consider subscribing to the Bloody Elbow Substack to enjoy our daily premium content. Your paid subscriptions are helping build our new site and keeping hope alive that our staff will remain intact. If you haven’t already, please pledge with a paid subscription today.

Join the new Bloody Elbow

Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Karim Zidan. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.

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

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories