Robert Whittaker envisions a situation in which Sean Strickland will be his next opponent.
After Israel Adesanya stated that Dricus Du Plessis had a foot issue, Strickland (27-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) was mentioned as a potential title contender for the middleweight champion at UFC 293 on September 9 in Sydney.
Du Plessis (20-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) became the No. 1 contender after TKOing Whittaker at UFC 290, but Whittaker (25-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) believes he may face Strickland next since Adesanya hasn't scheduled his next championship defence yet.
“Remember, we ruled out Sean Strickland because we thought he was fighting Izzy in September,” Whittaker said on his MMArcade Podcast. “But that doesn’t look to be happening anymore.
I can’t see Sean Strickland jumping Dricus if they don’t fight September. I’m not going to rule him out of the discussion of my next fight. We’re going to have to wait and see.”
Whittaker's defeat by Du Plessis was his first at 185 pounds besides defeats to Adesanya in title fights. He has already returned to the gym while he watches the middleweight championship to unfold in the near future.
“It’s one of those things – the division is kind of backed up at the moment and there’s a lot of moving pieces that are just not moving in the way I want them to,” Whittaker said. “But regardless, I’m going to focus on just getting back into that winning track. I’m excited for the training.
I’m back in training already. I’ve been back in the gym hustling and I am more eager than ever to get back in there. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but we’ll wait and see.”