ROBERT WHITTAKER refuses to bring the prospect of a trans-Tasman trilogy fight with Israel Adesanya to his mind ahead of his showdown with Dricus Du Plessis.
The former longtime middleweight champion returns to the game early Sunday morning with a stacked UFC 290 card.
UFC President Dana White has previously announced that the loot will be out for the winner in the rising 185-pounder clashcrack Adesanya’s middleweight belt.
Not only would a win over Du Plessis give Whittaker an opportunity to reclaim the middleweight throne, it would also give him another shot at finally earning a win over The Last Stylebender.
But revenge, no matter how sweet, is what Whittaker will keep in mind until he stops Du Plessis’ climb up the ranks.
The Reaper told SunSport: “At the moment there is nothing going beyond July 8th. And this is the truth.”
“I have the toughest fight of my career so far on July 8th. And that’s all I focus on.” [right now].
“That’s the only thing that’s certain and I’ll take care of the rest afterwards.”
South African MMA’s poster boy Du Plessis has been a wrecking ball since his UFC appearance on Fight Island in October 2020.
The 29-year-old finished off all but one of his opponents with a wild and unorthodox style that Whittaker – unlike many – considers elements of dangerous.
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The first UFC champion said of Still Knocks, “He’s a tough guy.”
“And he’s a guy you don’t realize unless you go in there [the fact] If he turns this fight into a dogfight and stays in this fight for the full 15 minutes, you’re in big trouble.
“If you underestimate this guy, you’re in trouble. He’s a tough guy, he’s got all the skills.”
Du Plessis’ ability to stop fights – particularly during his UFC streak – has also impressed Whittaker.
The 32-year-old said of the former EFC World Champion and Middleweight Champion: “He obviously has a good instinct to grab a win when he sees it.”
“Whether it’s with the hands, or the grappling, or that.
“He’s a tough guy and I totally understand that, fully respect that and that’s why I’m so tough for this fight.”
Whittaker’s respect for DDP’s unique style is evident, but he firmly believes he can use his aggressiveness against him to get a late finish.
“I think he’s tough, fast and aggressive,” Whittaker said.
“But I think I dothis[storm[andjuststarttakingitapartandhopefullylockitaway”[storm[andjuststarttopickhimapartandhopefullyputhimaway”[Sturm[undfangeeinfachanihnauseinanderzunehmenundihnhoffentlichwegzusperren“[storm[andjuststarttopickhimapartandhopefullyputhimaway”