After Robert Whittaker was forced to skip out on his title defense against Kelvin Gastleum at last weekend’s (Sat., Feb. 9, 2019) UFC 234 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Melbourne, Australia, Kelvin took it upon himself to dub himself the new Middleweight champion.
Israel Adesanya -- who defeated Anderson Silva in the headlining bout — meanwhile, stated that perhaps “The Reaper” should be stripped of his title since it’s the second time he’s been forced to skip on a title defense,
I mean, it’s not like he wanted his bowel to be twisted up like a pretzel.
Whittaker, meanwhile, says if both Israel and Gastelum don’t have anything better to do while he heals up from emergency surgery, then they can pass the time by taking on Yoel Romero, the man “Bobby Knuckles” considers to be second best in the division and one of the toughest challenges out there.
“Definitely [Romero is the second best guy in the division],” Whittaker said on his Grange TV YouTube channel (via MMA Fighting). “If Adesanya or Gastelum want something to do, fight him. [Laughing] He’s fun. He’s a great fight.”
“I feel that Yoel gave me his best in 10 rounds and couldn’t put me away. I went 10 rounds with a monster, no one else has,” he said. “It is refreshing to have a different opponent other than Yoel.”
Indeed, Whittaker took part in back-to-back “fun” fights against “Soldier of God,” defeating him on both occasions, though he left each outing with fresh bruises, scars and injuries to remind him of the nights he faced off against the powerful Cuban.
Of course, Romero is currently lined up to face Paulo Costa at UFC on ESPN 3 on April 27 in Miami, Florida.
As for when Robert plans on returning to action, his manager recently revealed that a target date of June seems likely, which means Gastelum will have to wait at least four more months for his chance at becoming the real champion, while Israel will have to wait a bit longer.
Unless, of course, UFC opts to book Gastelum vs Adesanya for an interim strap.