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Midnight Mania! Robert Whittaker denies Dana White’s claim, will chase Israel Adesanya to Light Heavyweight

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After Robert Whittaker’s decisive victory over Jared Cannonier at UFC 254, Whittaker appeared to be next-in-line for the Middleweight title. Dana White said that a rematch made sense, and Whittaker expressed his interested in facing Israel Adesanya again around March after spending the holiday season with his family.

However, the promotion chose to go in another direction. Rather than have Adesanya defend his title again, he’ll head up to 205 lbs. and attempt to claim double champ status by taking out Jan Blachowicz.

That’s a great fight, but in the process, White claimed that Whittaker does not want the Adesanya rematch at all.

“I certainly think he took a little twist to what I said,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie. “I never said I don’t want to fight Izzy. That’s not something I said. I did not say that. I’m looking to fight March, April next year. I would like to fight Izzy. If Izzy’s moving up to fight Jan, then I’ll move up and fight him there if he gets the win. I want that fight. I do want that fight. We just had to work it into that timeline.

“I have no control on what the UFC’s going to do or what Izzy’s going to do, but whether he’s here at middleweight or up at light heavyweight, I’ll take the fight him.”

Whittaker isn’t upset with UFC moving in another direction, but his goal remains the same in facing Adesanya again and retaking the title. Uninterested in fighting down the rankings a third straight time, Whittaker is a bit surprised he was never contacted.

“They never reached out to me – not once,” Whittaker continued. “It wasn’t so much of a twist of Izzy fighting Jan. I can see why they would want to do that, why Izzy would want to do that, why the UFC would want it. I can see that happening. It’s more the twist or how he took my words. Either he misinterpreted it or twisted it a little bit. That one took me for a little bit of a ride. But like I said, my timeline stands. That is the fight that I’ve earned.”

Insomnia

Conor McGregor took questions on Twitter over the weekend, so here are some highlights!

Is Alistair Overeem vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik 2 the fight to make? It seems like one of the only options.

Even in a division like women’s Flyweight, matchmaking moves quick!

Jonathan Haggerty tears up a mitt session:

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Fakes. Counters. Reflexes. I will be ready

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“The Mountain” got some MMA training in with “El Guapo” ... and made the former Heavyweight champ look tiny!

Both Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos swing for the finish. This week’s main event is going to be fun!

Slips, rips, and KO clips

Semyonov took some shots to find the submission from his back.

Yup, that’s a pretty perfect flying knee!

Yurusov did a really nice job of maintaining a pinch and downward pressure with his legs while fighting the grip. His opponent was really freaking out yet barely moved.

Random Land

A bit of assistance (for an empty barbell) from man’s best friend:

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Best spotter ever. (via @crossfitmilescity)

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Midnight Music: The video of the first-ever live performance of “Sympathy For The Devil” was just released online. That’s awesome on its own, but eagle-eyed readers may note some legends in the crowd too.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.