When he moved up to middleweight in 2014, Robert Whittaker went on a lengthy win streak that led to the UFC title. After defending it once against Yoel Romero in 2018, he lost it to Israel Adesanya in October via second-round TKO.
While he took on and defeated one top contender after another, winning the title is apparently not part of the plan for “Bobby Knuckles.”
“Yeah I kind of, I didn’t really like it that much,” Whittaker said of his title stint on Monday’s Ariel Helwani MMA Show (transcript by MMA Mania). “It’s one of those things that, it comes with some pros, but the cons were really starting distracting me. There’s a lot of media, a lot of expectations and a lot of self-imposed pressure. It didn’t agree with me super well.
“The biggest thing for me is that even through my journey in the division, that was never the objective,” he added. “The title was never the objective, it was a result of.”
For Whittaker, the main driving force was his love for fighting, along with being the underdog in some of his matchups.
“I’ve always been the sort of guy who just likes to fight,” he said. “I like the challenge, I like the next opponent. I like to work at just how am going to beat you. Another thing is, I love being the underdog. I love people just writing me off like, ‘You’re going to lose.’ I love the struggle.”
Whittaker has yet to schedule his next fight, but he already agreed to face Darren Till in London in March of the coming year.