Robert Whittaker expects ‘really yucky fight’ with Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290

Robert Whittaker is expecting a ‘yucky’ fight from Dricus Du Plessis when they clash at International Fight Week.

By: Kristen King | 3 months ago

When UFC president Dana White confirmed the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis would challenge reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, fans immediately started to prepare for the trilogy between the ‘Reaper’ and the ‘Last Stylebender’. Though 0-2 against Adesanya, Whittaker has turned away every other contender he’s been paired against after those losses to cement himself in title contention again. 

Robert Whittaker preparing for ‘tough’ Dricus Du Plessis

Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, Kelvin Gastelum and Marvin Vettori all fell short against Whittaker, and now the former UFC middleweight champion has yet another contender to turn away in Dricus Du Plessis. Though fans expect him to do so with ease, the New Zealand-born Aussie is giving ’Stillknocks’ more of a chance in their fight.

“I’m not underestimating Dricus at all,” said Whittaker on his MMArcade podcast. “You don’t get to where he is in the division without being damn good at what you do. I understand he’s tough. I understand he’s got cardio and he’s got the complete skill set. But I do believe that I am just better. I believe I have everything he does and more, and more to give, and I’m better at it. That’s just the truth. That’s just facts. 

“I never underestimate my opponents, and I know not to underestimate Dricus  because he’s the sort of guy, that if you underestimate him, which a lot of people have, he dismantles you,” continued Whittaker. “He beats you up, takes you into the phone booth. He makes it a really yucky fight, and I’m not going to do that. I’m training for war — 15 minutes of carnage, and that’s how I always do my fights because he’s a tough guy.”

Dricus Du Plessis’ rise in the UFC

Throughout his UFC tenure, Du Plessis has shined against names such as Markus Perez, Trevin Giles and Brad Tavares. As the former KSW champion continued to dispatch his opponents, the level of competition got tougher. And with that, Du Plessis was paired against potential title contenders in Darren Till and Derek Brunson in his next two fights. 

Du Plessis dispatched them, too, and requested either a No. 1 contender or a title shot against Adesanya next. The UFC went with the former, and Whittaker is prepared to give him his first UFC loss. 

“Let me say: I’m very good at fighting tough guys, and I’m good at dismantling them,” said Whittaker. “I look forward to finally getting back in there, International Fight Week, and being across from him and doing my job.”

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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.

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