Last Saturday night (June 9, 2018) Robert Whittaker put a stamp on his rivalry with No. 1 Middleweight contender Yoel Romero, defeating him in back-to-back outings in the span of one year. The five round bout -- which ended up being a non-title fight because of this -- resulted in an all out 25-minute war for the ages. While the judges were comfortable giving “The Reaper” the split decision, others were a bit surprised by the scorecards (see them here).
After the bout, talks of a potential trilogy fight surfaced, even during Whittaker’s post-fight victory talk with Joe Rogan. During a recent appearance on ‘The MMA Hour,’ Whittaker says he sees no reason to have to face “The Boogeyman” again ... much less in another immediate rematch.
“When Rogan asked me in the Octagon the other night, he said rubbermatch and for one, I have never heard of the term rubber match so he caught me off guard there,” proclaimed Whittaker. “Second, I had just beat the boogeyman of the division twice back-to-back. I don’t think it’s how the division, UFC conducts business to get the champion to fight one guy, who on both occasions doesn’t make weight for a championship fight, back-to-back-to-back. Like, am I going to fight Yoel Romero forever?”
While watching the two heavy-hitters collide for a third time would be a treat for fans, the Aussie does make valid points, as Romero didn’t do himself any favors by missing weight in consecutive title fights. Plus, going up 2-0 on someone pretty much means case closed.
As far as the possibility of Whittaker actually not going through his bout against Romero based on these comments, he says not giving the fans a fight is something he couldn’t do.
“I had told other people that (wouldn't fight if Yoel missed weight), but I was more trying to get my opponent to think about it and take a little more seriously. I’m a professional in all the things I do, and when I sign the contract and it says 185, I make sure I am 185,” he added.
“I’ll get in bright and early and make sure I am one of the first people on the scales. The thing is, I didn’t need to take the fight and I could have walked way with my purse money and not taken the fight,” explained Robert. “I had a right to do that. But the thing was I had a lot of fans here and Chicago was super pumped to see the main event and a lot of people bought the PPV to watch the rematch between me and Romero. At the end of the day I’m a fighter and I just told myself I would take this fight. Someone was going to get into a fight.”
What makes Whittaker’s win even more impressive is that he suffered a broken right hand in the very first round, so he had to keep punching a man made of “cement” for five more rounds with a busted limb.
One can only imagine the outcome if Whittaker wasn’t injured in both fights.
Whittaker will now fly back home to Australia and get immediate surgery on his broken hand in preparations for one more fight in 2018. Against who remains to be seen, but we have our choice for his next opponent here.