Robert Whittaker questions if the UFC will keep letting Israel Adesanya get title rematches: “Relax, that’s the fight game”

By Fernando Quiles - September 14, 2023

Robert Whittaker isn’t so sure the UFC would set a good precedent for the middleweight division if Israel Adesanya keeps receiving title rematches.

Sean Strickland and Israel Adesanya UFC 293

It has been talked about ad nauseam, but “The Last Stylebender” recently suffered one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. He was outclassed by Sean Strickland to the point where “Izzy” only had one round in the bag. Strickland flustered Adesanya in a way very few expected, and it led to him capturing the UFC Middleweight Championship via unanimous decision.


Robert Whittaker Is Against Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland 2

UFC CEO Dana White hasn’t committed to Strickland’s first title challenger. He did, however, admit that he finds an immediate rematch with Adesanya to be intriguing. During an appearance on MMAFighting‘s “The MMA Hour,” Robert Whittaker said he doesn’t think Strickland vs. “Izzy” 2 is the direction the UFC should go in.

“Let’s take fair out of the equation. Life isn’t fair, right? But I think it’s silly if Izzy gets an immediate rematch, because this isn’t his first loss as champion,” Whittaker said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “You know? Technically he didn’t defend the belt again. He lost to [Alex] Pereira, got the belt back, and then lost it again. And you have to ask, like, is your idea just to keep letting him have rematches when he loses? Like, relax, that’s the fight game.

“It puts the UFC in a tricky position, because Izzy’s kind of one of their premiere guys. You know, he’s one of the poster boys. But yeah, I think he’s got some work to do.”

Some of Whittaker’s peers agree with him. One of them is fellow middleweight Marvin Vettori, who said there are other interesting options for Strickland such as Dricus Du Plessis or even a rematch with Jared Cannonier.

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Israel Adesanya Robert Whittaker UFC