Robert Whittaker, the former middleweight champion, has been stirring up excitement in the MMA world with his latest comments about his potential fights with Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa. In a recent interview with The MMA Hour, Whittaker provided some insight into his thoughts on the current state of the middleweight division.
Firstly, Whittaker shared his thoughts on Israel Adesanya’s recent victory over Alex Pereira to regain the middleweight championship. He acknowledged the impressive performance of Adesanya and stated that he still has his sights set on a third fight with him. Whittaker’s two previous bouts with Adesanya were both closely contested affairs, with one win and one loss each, and the possibility of a rubber match between the two is a tantalising prospect for fans.
However, Whittaker seemed less enthusiastic about a potential fight with Paulo Costa. The Brazilian fighter recently signed a new contract with the UFC, but Whittaker appeared to express some reservations about the matchup. While Costa is undoubtedly a formidable opponent, Whittaker’s comments suggest that he may not be interested in taking on the Brazilian anytime soon.
On the other hand, Whittaker seems intrigued by the prospect of a fight with Khamzat Chimaev, the up-and-coming Swedish fighter who has been making waves in the UFC. Whittaker praised Chimaev’s fighting style and expressed his admiration for the young fighter’s skills. A fight between the two would certainly be an exciting matchup, and it would be fascinating to see how Chimaev fares against a seasoned veteran like Whittaker.
Whittaker said, “I’m not fighting him [Paulo Costa] because mate, this is the second time I was supposed to fight him and he’s pulled out. And it just mucks everything up, I have to do a whole camp and I make expenses and costs and everything like that to get to a point where he falls away. This is the second time he’s done it. I want a fight that’s going to happen.”
During his appearance on The MMA Hour, Robert Whittaker, the former middleweight champion, was asked about a potential fight with Khamzat Chimaev, the rising Swedish fighter in the UFC. While Whittaker acknowledged Chimaev’s talent and impressive performances in his recent fights, he expressed his reservations about the prospect of fighting him.
“He’s [Khamzat Chimaev], he’s not in the division rankings…I’m not a huge fan of guys just sliding in and fighting wherever they want. Yeah, it’s a different place. The rankings are there for a reason, I like fighting top-5 guys. That’s just where I’m at. I like fighting top-5 guys because…they’re the best of the best.”
Whittaker’s hesitancy towards a Chimaev fight stems from his belief in the importance of the ranking system in determining who should be next in line for a title shot. He noted that Chimaev’s recent fights have not been contested at middleweight, the weight class in which Whittaker competes. As such, Whittaker does not believe that Chimaev should jump the line ahead of other fighters who have been working hard to climb the rankings and earn a shot at the title.
Whittaker’s emphasis on the ranking system highlights his respect for the sport and his desire to see fair and just competition. In a sport where title shots are often determined by popularity or hype, Whittaker’s commitment to the ranking system is a refreshing reminder of the importance of meritocracy in determining who deserves a shot at the top.
Moreover, Whittaker’s comments on Chimaev reflect the complexity of matchmaking in the UFC. While fans and promoters may clamour for exciting matchups, fighters often have their own considerations when it comes to accepting fights. Whittaker’s reluctance to fight Chimaev is not a reflection of fear or disrespect, but rather a reflection of his desire to see the sport’s rules and traditions respected.