Through no fault of his own, current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, hasn’t been as active as he may have liked, as multiple injuries have forced “The Reaper” to the sidelines and he’s only been able to compete three times over the last 24 months.
Not surprisingly, Israel Adesanya won’t pass up the chance to take a dig at the inactivity, even though it was emergency surgery that forced Whittaker out of his scheduled title defense against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 earlier this year. Nevertheless, “The Last Stylebender” will consider himself the true champion if he defeats Gastelum at UFC 236 (order details here) this Saturday night (April 13, 2019) in Atlanta.
“I’ve been the champion since day one, since I got here. A lot of people didn’t believe me, so that wasn’t my business, I believed me. I just have to prove me right because I always believed I was the champion, interim or not,” declared Israel on The Ariel Helwani MMA Show.
Since making his UFC debut a little over a year ago, Adesanya has competed five times in 12 months, winning all of his bouts including his unanimous decision victory over Anderson Silva at UFC 234 (see it here).
And if he’s done that much damage as a rising contender, “The Last Stylebender” says he will do even more as champion.
“Dude, the guy has fought twice in three years. Imagine me as champion in three years what I could do. My first year look what I did in UFC, so imagine me in three years what I could do,” he proclaimed. “And I actually work, I actually show up to work. Even though I don’t like it all the time, I actually get all the media shit done.”
“I actually perform. So yeah, he can be all like, ‘I’m not here to talk...’ get the fuck out of here. This is part of the game, this is how you become immortal in this game. I am doing my part and that’s all I care about. He can stay over there and do that part.”
A win for Adesanya will secure a title unification fight against Whittaker, which he says could take place at an 80,000 seat stadium in Australia later this year. Of course, Gastelum and his heavy hands are more than ready to spoil that party.