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Robert Whittaker jokes that he hopes Adesanya and Pereira ‘never come back the same’ after UFC 281

Robert Whittaker hopes that the UFC 281 main event will alter both competitors and make Whittaker's path to the title considerably simpler.

The middleweight category will be highlighted in this weekend's return to Madison Square Garden as two of MMA's top strikers square off for the biggest reward. Israel Adesanya, the current UFC champion, takes on Alex Pereira to earn some revenge while making his sixth championship defense.

Whittaker, who believes he is No. 1, is still widely regarded as the second-best 185-pound fighter on the earth despite Pereira's involvement in the title battle. Only outperformed by Adesanya in the division, "The Reaper" is known for being honest, and he is doing so once more when discussing his thoughts on the important forthcoming matchup.

“Absolutely not,” Whittaker responded jokingly when asked on the main event if he was rooting for someone. “I hope they both hurt each other extremely. Like bad (laughs). I hope they never — I hope they fight so hard and they hurt each other so bad that they never come back the same.

Robert Whittaker, who has twice lost to Israel Adesanya, is adamant that he is the world's finest middleweight despite his indomitable self-belief.

“I do believe I’m the best middleweight in the world, I just get countered by ‘Izzy’ so hard (laughs). I just feel like he’s my counter. I don’t fight well against him.”

The statement isn't entirely correct, since Adesanya is the top fighter in the 185-pound class, but it is undeniable that Whittaker and Adesanya have dominated the middleweight division as Whittaker has defeated nearly every opponent who isn't Adesanya and did so without difficulty.

Adesanya has been a striker in the octagon who is essentially unmatched. Because of their past encounters, it is anticipated that Pereira will present one of the toughest challenges yet, and Whittaker believes the fight will come down to one very important point in particular.

“There are a couple elements I see in this fight that are going to lead to this fight being why I’m watching it so closely,” Whittaker said. “They fought each other multiple times before, but they fought each other in bigger gloves. They were both landing strikes on each other, tagging each other, how does the small gloves affect that? If they can land shots like they did in kickboxing in this fight coming up with the small gloves because the smaller gloves, make the biggest difference. It impacts the entirety of the fight. How they engage, how wreckless they are moving forward, all of that.

“How that changes, what is that going to do to the fight itself? And next, who has evolved more? Who in their time away from each other since their last bout has evolved enough?”


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