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Jared Cannonier would ‘absolutely’ fight Robert Whittaker at UFC 284 in Australia

Jared Cannonier is letting the world know he’s more than happy to replace Paulo Costa against Robert Whittaker when the UFC returns to Australia in February.

UFC 284 Media Opportunity Photo by Paul Kane/Zuffa LLC

After weeks of Paulo Costa telling everyone repeatedly that he hadn’t signed a contract to fight Robert Whittaker in Australia, the UFC announced that Costa vs. Whittaker was off the card. The news wasn’t a shock to anyone keeping track of Costa’s contractual situation with the UFC, but it did seem to catch Whittaker by surprise.

“They’re looking to reschedule me in March, April and this is very upsetting,” Whittaker said in a video posted to social media. “I’m sorry to all the friends, fans, and family that are heading over there to watch me do work, but yeah it’s out of my hands. I’m upset. I was prepared to train through Christmas, to train through New Year’s to put in the work. I’m already so deep into my camp and everyone knows that my camps are quite long, so I’m already so deep into my camp and work.”

But what if Robert doesn’t have to be pulled from the card entirely? What if Jared Cannonier, who just beat Sean Strickland this past Saturday, was interested in stepping in to face “The Reaper” in Perth?

Well, ask ‘What if?’ no more, because Cannonier is down for it.

“Hell yeah, I’ve never been to Australia before,” he said when asked on The MMA Hour about fighting Whittaker at UFC 284. “I’d love to go there and fight Robert again, and hopefully get the job done this time.”

Unfortunately, the UFC hadn’t reached out to Cannonier regarding the Whittaker fight.

“Yeah, I don’t get that either, you know?” he added regarding the UFC’s apparent lack of interest in the match-up. “So I don’t know. Maybe Robert wants to take time. I mean, maybe it was Robert’s decision. Maybe he wants to take more time off then since he’s not getting this, he wants to have more of the holidays, really go crazy for the holidays.”

Asked again if he’d fight Whittaker in Australia, Cannonier confirmed “Yeah, absolutely.”

For some reason we’re not expecting the UFC to follow up on this by themselves. But maybe if Robert Whittaker sees Cannonier’s interview, he can push the promotion to accept his offer and set up a rematch of their October 2020 fight for Perth. With pay-per-view prices making another hike, this doesn’t feel like the time to be fielding less stacked cards. And keeping “The Reaper” on an Australian card is a no-brainer.

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