Undefeated middleweight prospect Israel Adesanya is oozing with confidence after his TKO win over Derek Brunson, and ‘The Last Stylebender’ is out for UFC gold.
Speaking to FOX Sports Australia in a recent interview, Adesanya called out divisional champion Robert Whittaker, claiming that he is a nightmare matchup for ‘The Reaper’ and would have no problem exploiting his defensive holes.
“I beat him wherever I want,” Adesanya said (via BJ Penn.com). “If I’m being frank, Rob is lacking defensively and that’s where I’ll take him. And I can do that any way I want. I know he’s a fighter who wants to go out there and bust people up, but I’m not a guy you mess with.”
While Adesanya may stack up well against Whittaker on paper, getting the job done inside the Octagon is no easy task. Whittaker, 27, is undefeated at middleweight and has won nine straight fights since his 185-pound debut in 2014. The Sydney-based fighter holds back-to-back wins over Yoel Romero as well as a knockout win over top contender Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza.
Adesanya, 29, has arguably the most elusive and technical striking in the division, but the Nigerian could be underestimating the current champ. Whittaker has knockout power in both hands and, while maybe lacking defensively, the New Zealand-born fighter has a strong fight IQ.
Whittaker currently has his hands full with Kelvin Gastelum, who he will defend his middleweight title against at next year’s UFC 234 pay-per-view on Feb. 10 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Adesanya will likely face another top contender before there’s any talk of a title shot.