Ben Askren claims Robert Whittaker had a serious ankle injury going into Dricus Du Plessis fight

By Cole Shelton - January 3, 2024

Ben Askren has an idea why Robert Whittaker struggled against Dricus Du Plessis in July.

Ben Askren and Robert Whittaker

Whittaker and Du Plessis were fighting at UFC 290 in July in a potential number-one contender fight at middleweight. The Aussie entered the fight as the betting favorite, but it was Du Plessis who pulled off the upset as he scored a second-round TKO for the biggest win of his career.

It was a statement-making performance from Dricus Du Plessis, but according to Ben Askren, Robert Whittaker entered the fight with a bad ankle injury that didn’t allow him to train.

“I heard he was dealing with some pretty serious injuries. He has pulled out a handful of times and he didn’t want to pull out again. I don’t know those to be true, I don’t know how good my sources are, but I heard it multiple times… It was something with his ankle where he couldn’t train very well, and both times I heard someone said the same body part,” Ben Askren said about Robert Whittaker on Daniel Cormier’s YouTube channel.

Since the loss, Robert Whittaker hasn’t come out and revealed he had any sort of injury. But, he did recently say he didn’t feel like himself in the Octagon, so perhaps he was hinting at the ankle injury which Ben Askren heard about.

Speaking on his MMArcade Podcast after the loss to Du Plessis, Robert Whittaker also said it was a wake-up call he needed.

“I do believe that this is the wake-up call that I needed to really free myself in a sense, to address a lot of the things that I’ve gotten away with that I didn’t last fight, that would have caught up with me, that did catch up with me in the last fight, that would have eventually anyway. And it’s a lot of things that I’ve gotten away with throughout my career just because of my speed, athletic ability, instincts, eyes, all that sort of jazz,” Whittaker said about his loss to Dricus Du Plessis.

Robert Whittaker is expected to return to the Octagon to face Paulo Costa on Feb. 17 at UFC 298. It’s a fight that has been in the works multiple times but has yet to come to fruition. Before the loss to Du Plessis, Whittaker beat Marvin Vettori by decision to return to the win column after a loss to Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title.


Ben Askren Dricus du Plessis Robert Whittaker UFC