Top contender Kelvin Gastelum will be taking on the biggest fight of his career when he challenges Robert Whittaker for the UFC middleweight title early next year. The TUF 17 winner, however, is questioning if “Bobby Knuckles” would be the same fighter after two consecutive five-round wars against Yoel Romero.
Whittaker went on to address these claims made by his challenger during a TUF 28 media scrum last week.
“I’d like to think that I’m one of the few guys who hasn’t been in a lot of wars, Whittaker said (via MMA Fighting). “I haven’t been hit that much. My last couple fights have been pretty hard, but look at the opponents and the caliber I’m going up against.
“I think he’s telling himself that to make himself feel better. There are some bad guys out there that couldn’t put me away, that couldn’t touch me, and I walked through them.”
With both men having gone through the Ultimate Fighter house, they recently re-entered, but as coaches this time around. Whittaker says there is mutual respect between him and Gastelum, while also admitting that being around an opponent is not really something he fully enjoys.
“To be honest, on the show, in regards to that, me and him, we stayed on each other, we were very civil, he was very respectful to me, and after that I showed that back to him,” Whittaker said of Gastelum. “You show respect to me and I give respect to you. It wasn’t fun being around an opponent that whole amount of time, especially when you’re going to fight him eventually, but it is what it is.”