Robert Whittaker doesn’t believe the UFC 297 main event outcome was controversial: “He wanted it more”

By Susan Cox - January 24, 2024

Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker does not believe the UFC 297 main event outcome was controversial.

Robert Whittaker, Sean Strickland, UFC 296, UFC

It was at UFC 297 this past weekend that Sean Strickland (28-6 MMA) went up against Dricus Du Plessis (21-2 MMA) for the middleweight champion belt. The result was a split decision victory for ‘Stillknocks’.

While some believe the decision should have gone Strickland’s way, Robert Whittaker is adamant Du Plessis won the fight, as he scored rounds 2, 3, 4 and 5 for the South African.

Whittaker, speaking on his ‘MMArcade Podcast’ shared his thoughts on the title fight at UFC 297:

“I don’t know why it’s controversial. I’ve seen a lot of other fighters and even Dana White himself saying he didn’t think he (Du Plessis) won the fight. In my opinion, I thought he won the fight. I don’t like blurring the lines, but I will say congratulations to Dricus because he wanted it. … I said he’s a big, strong guy, and he’s awkward as hell to fight.”

Continuing, Robert Whittaker congratulated the new champ (h/t MMAJunkie):

“But one of his things is he goes out on his shield. He’s not going to go away. He will not give up. He’ll need to leave that octagon on a stretcher, and that’s exactly what he did. That’s exactly what he showed. I will say congratulations to the new champ because he wanted it more.”

Concluding the 33-year-old said:

“Seeing that fight from him, it made me realize that I did not prepare adequately for him. I did not give him the respect he deserved. I understand he was a hard and tough fighter, but I don’t think I understood how tough and strong and hungry he really was, and respect to that. I won’t make that mistake again.”

Whittaker knows exactly what it’s like to fight Du Plessis as the two met in July of 2023 at UFC 290. The outcome was a TKO victory for Du Plessis at 2:23 of round 2.

As for what’s next for Whittaker (24-7 MMA), he’s preparing for his fight with Paulo Costa (14-2 MMA) which takes place on Saturday February 17th at UFC 298 in the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Do you agree with Whittaker that Du Plessis won because ‘he wanted it more’?

Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!


Robert Whittaker UFC UFC 297