Robert Whittaker won’t get into trash talk with Israel Adesanya: ‘I’m not a part of that little game’

Robert Whittaker doesn’t generally engage in pre-fight antics, and he doesn’t plan to start with Israel Adesanya.

Going back and forth at the UFC summer news conference earlier this month, Adesanya mentioned how he believes Whittaker’s attitude has changed ahead of their middleweight title unification bout Oct. 5 at UFC 243.

Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) disagrees, as he believes Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is the one that has done all the talking leading up to their fight. He has no problem with Adesanya building the fight up, just as long as he doesn’t drag him into it.

“The thing is, I haven’t done anything differently. I haven’t changed,” Whittaker told Submission Radio. “Yeah, he’s just gotten mouthy. I guess he had to to get the title shot, which he got due to his performances in the octagon and the way he sells his fights. Which is all props to him. I think that’s great the way he did it. And that’s kind of how he sells fights and how he does stuff. But that’s him, though. I’m not playing like that. We’re not cool. Like, you can sell the fight, and I’m happy for you to sell the fight. Actually, I encourage it. But I’m not a part of that little game. Like, we’re not cool.”

“We’re not cool. Like, I’ll be civil. Like, what am I, an animal? Like, I’ll be civil with him, but I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want to talk to him, and yeah, we’re not like, we’re not friends (laughs).”

The UFC summer news conference was the first time they faced off. Afterward, Adesanya said Whittaker looked like a “meth head”. Whittaker was all business, and he believes Adesanya knows it, regardless of what he says.

“He definitely saw it. He saw I’m not playing,” Whittaker said. “But he’s a smart guy. He’s a smart guy with a lot of experience. He already knew I’m not playing. He knew the stakes, and he knows how serious this fight is. He knows how hard I’m gonna come out regardless of what he says. That’s just how it is. You don’t get to where he is by underestimating everybody. He’s had a lot of experience. To be honest, there wasn’t a lot that I found out or what I saw, because I was ready for it all. I’m ready for this.”

Whittaker has gone through the trenches in the middleweight division, with wins over Jacare Souza and Yoel Romero twice. The usually soft spoken Aussie says he doesn’t need to try and get into his opponents’ heads, as he reiterates that this isn’t a game to him.

“Let me clear something up quickly: Just because I don’t talk trash, and I’m not mouthy, and I’m not mouthing off like I’m in the school yard, doesn’t mean I don’t take this for what it is,” Whittaker said. “I am doing everything in my power to break you, because we are going to go fight in an octagon. And I don’t play this. This isn’t a game to me. I treat this as if this would be my last fight ever, and I always have. And I don’t need to smack talk to get in that mind frame, I’m already there.

“Like, we’re gonna go fight to the death in so many months time, and I’m gonna give everything I have. I just don’t smack talk, though. But don’t misinterpret that for me not taking the fight seriously. You can see every one of my opponents when we have the first faceoff or when we come face to face after the fight’s been announced, they know. They know that, ‘OK, this guy isn’t playing.’ I’m not playing. Its not a game.”

For more on UFC 243, check out the UFC schedule.

Israel Adesanya criticizes ‘fickle’ and ‘wishy-washy’ MMA fans

UFC interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes that most MMA fans are fickle and disloyal.

Speaking to MMA Fighting at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony last weekend, the interim titleholder looked back on the moment he realized how “wishy-washy” fight fans are.

He says it struck him ahead of his 2018 fight with Marvin Vettori — his second UFC bout.

“I’ll tell you a story,” he began. “Before I fought Marvin Vettori, Marvin goes out [on stage] on the marker. There’s a curtain. Fan’s can’t see me. [I can hear them yelling] ‘Go Marvin, f**k this motherf**ker up! Get that bonus, baby, yeah!’ I’m hearing this the whole time. Marvin walks out, and I walk to the curtain and step on the prep point. The same exact voice with the same exact script he said to Marvin said to me ‘Go Israel, f**k this motherf**ker up, go get that bonus!’ And in that moment, that’s when I realized, these n***as don’t give a f**k about me.

“They do not give a f**k about me,” Adesanya continued. “All this is ‘just bleed.’ They want this sh*t. This is a mob mentality with fans. One-on-one, it’s different. I’ll save these stories for later, but this is the moment I realized this is what it’s like. [The fans are] fickle. They go wishy-washy. And I’ve seen it happen to many people in this game as well. Even with Jon Jones, they’re like ‘yay… boo.’ With DC [Daniel Cormier], they’re like ‘yay… boo.’”

Israel Adesanya, a Kiwi, is currently scheduled to unify his interim middleweight title with the undisputed strap owned by Australia’s Robert Whittaker at UFC 243. The card does not yet have an official location, but the hope is that it will happen somewhere in Oceania.

What do you think of these comments from Adesanya?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/11/2019.

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Israel Adesanya compares Robert Whittaker to a ‘meth head’

Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker don’t even know where their UFC 243 middleweight title fight will occur yet, but Adesanya is already letting the trash talk fly.

Speaking at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony over the weekend, the interim champion Adesanya shared his thoughts on his first staredown with the undisputed champ Whittaker.

He says the Australian reminded him of a “meth head.”

“At the staredown, he just reminded me of like a meth head,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie at the event. “When you look into someone’s eyes and you’re just like, yeah, and I’m looking at him like OK, cool. He’s a guy, he’s been here, he’s tough, he’s a vet in this game, so I don’t have to try and get under his skin. He’s not under my skin, and he says he doesn’t think about me, and I don’t want him to. I don’t expect him to. My coaches think about him a lot, though, and we’re going to devise a beautiful strategy to take him off.”

It’s not totally clear why Robert Whittaker reminded Israel Adesanya of a meth head, or what that even means. Whatever the case, Whittaker doesn’t seem too concerned with the comments of his rival.

“I guess the biggest difference for this fight and this opponent is that he’s got a problem,” Robert Whittaker told ESPN recently. “He’s kind of like arguing by himself. All my other opponents realize they’re not gonna get a rise out of me and they’re just chill and we fight. In the weeks coming we’ve got a fight. Face-to-face, you know. We can resolve our differences then. It’s different with him because he has a one-man argument. So yeah, I don’t care. It is what it is.”

Who do you think will come out on top when Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya finally meet?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/10/2019.

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Robert Whittaker says Israel Adesanya is ‘arguing by himself’

Robert Whittaker has no plans to be goaded into a verbal spat with Israel Adesanya.

Whittaker and Adesanya are set to collide in a middleweight title unification bout on Oct. 5. The championship tilt will serve as UFC 243’s main event. While the headliner and event have been announced, a location has not. While many had anticipated Melbourne, UFC president Dana White revealed during the summer press conference 2019 that nothing is a lock yet.

Adesanya hasn’t let up in his trash talk towards Whittaker. “The Last Stylebender” has blasted “The Reaper” for posting memes of him online as well as responding favorably to Jon Jones’ offer to train with him.

Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Whittaker weighed in on Adesanya’s tirade:

“I guess the biggest difference for this fight and this opponent is that he’s got a problem,” Robert Whittaker said. “He’s kind of like arguing by himself. All my other opponents realize they’re not gonna get a rise out of me and they’re just chill and we fight. In the weeks coming we’ve got a fight. Face-to-face, you know. We can resolve our differences then. It’s different with him because he has a one-man argument. So yeah, I don’t care. It is what it is.”

Whittaker also said that part of the reason why he doesn’t put much stock into Adesanya’s words has to do with the fact that he doesn’t keep up with social media.

“I find some of the things he says funny as well. The thing is, I’m kind of under a rock. I don’t realize a lot of things are going on around me until people tell me. So I’m not very social media aware of what’s going on. It’s like someone will come to the gym and be like, ‘hey man did you see what Izzy said about you?’ And I’m like, ‘nah tell me.’ And then they tell me in their words and it’s funny. I guess I’m just not aware. I’m just not very aware.”

Who do you think will come out on top when Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya collide at UFC 243?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/10/2019.

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Marvin Vettori wants Israel Adesanya rematch, confident he ‘will finish him’

Israel Adesanya is 17-0 as a pro mixed martial artist and 6-0 inside the UFC’s Octagon. While many of his UFC wins have looked quite effortless, others have come a little less easily, such as his second bout, which saw him defeat Marvin Vettori by split decision.

At UFC on FOX 29, Adesanya fought Vettori and ended up winning, but it was close. One judge sided with the Italian, who is still the only person to win a judge’s favor against Adesanya in the UFC. Now, the 25-year-old wants the rematch against the interim champion and is confident he not only wins but finishes Adesanya.

“I absolutely want that fight again, absolutely. It is unbelievable myself a year ago in that fight, what I was able to accomplish against him,” Marvin Vettori said to BJPENN.com. “I have gotten miles better. He has had his journey and is still having it and I have to work my way up to where he is. I’m not looking backward, and I now have to start a new journey and am ready to climb to the top.

“But, yes I plan on winning until I get that fight and it will go much differently than the first one. This time I won’t leave it to the judges as I will finish him. But, if somehow, someway he makes it the scorecards it will be total domination and very clear who wins that fight and it will be me getting my hand raised. I’m very, very confident I beat him. I know I can beat him and should have beaten him the first time.”

Whether or not the pair fight again is to be seen. Marvin Vettori has not fought since his meeting with Adesanya due to a USADA issue related to a contaminated supplement.

Would you want to see Marvin Vettori vs. Israel Adesanya 2?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/9/2019.

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Israel Adesanya: Robert Whittaker reminded me of a ‘meth head’ during first faceoff

LAS VEGAS – Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker faced off for the first time since the announcement of their much anticipated middleweight title unification bout.

They are set to square off in the main event of UFC 243 on Oct. 5.

And Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), the interim titleholder, has already started making reads on champion Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) after the two had some verbal exchanges last Friday at the UFC’s summer news conference.

“At the staredown, he just reminded me of like a meth head,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony. “When you look into someone’s eyes and you’re just like, yeah, and I’m looking at him like OK, cool. He’s a guy, he’s been here, he’s tough, he’s a vet in this game, so I don’t have to try and get under his skin. He’s not under my skin, and he says he doesn’t think about me, and I don’t want him to. I don’t expect him to. My coaches think about him a lot, though, and we’re going to devise a beautiful strategy to take him off.”

Whittaker vs. Adesanya is being dubbed as the Oceania region’s biggest fight ever, and while no official announcement has been made regarding the venue, Melbourne seems to be the frontrunner for the Australasian showdown.

“The biggest fight in the Oceania region,” Adesanya said. “Because before, in the same stadium we’re probably going to have at it, Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm, the upset. I was there, I felt it all the way in the nosebleeds, and you had to get outsiders to come headline, but now we have two people from our own backyard headlining the stadium. It’s beautiful.”

For more on upcoming UFC events, check out the MMA schedule.

Jon Jones responds to Israel Adesanya’s criticism of UFC 239 Performance

Jon Jones wasn’t going to stay quiet regarding Israel Adesanya’s latest verbal jabs for long.

Jones vs. Adesanya is a dream matchup for many, but “Bones” has dismissed the idea in the past. The UFC light heavyweight champion has referred to Adesanya as being “frail” and has urged him to eat more jerk chicken. Adesanya has fired back by poking fun at Jones’ past troubles outside of the Octagon.

Adesanya appeared on ESPN’s Ariel Helwani MMA Show and expressed his belief that Jon Jones is starting to look older. He wasn’t impressed with Jones’ UFC 239 outing against Thiago Santos. Jones was quick to fire back on Twitter:

“Style bender was asked a question about me and the first thing he could think of was my cakes at weigh ins. Then went on to talk about how I’m built like a dorito with chopsticks. No comment needed.”

When a fan commented that he feels Jones and Adesanya have similarities, “Bones” was not amused.

“Similar physique, I can see it. Please don’t compare him to me when it comes to anything in between the ears.”

“And if you’re confused, I’m talking face and brain.”

Israel Adesnaya is the interim UFC middleweight champion and he’s due for a title unification bout. “The Last Stylebender” will collide with champion Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC 243 on Oct. 5. A location for the event has not been announced.

As for Jon Jones, time will tell what’s next for him as he’s just coming off a five-round tilt. While Jones has said there’s still work to be done at light heavyweight, he also hasn’t been opposed to making a move to heavyweight as long as UFC president Dana White opens up the checkbook.

This article first appeared on BJPENNDOTCOM July 8, 2019

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