Robert Whittaker is ranked No. 2 in the world.
Above him is former champion Alex Pereira and reigning 185-pound titleholder Israel Adesanya. “Poatan” is expected to move up to the light heavyweight division while “The Last Stylebender” already holds two victories over “The Reaper.”
So where does that leave the 32 year-old Aussie?
“I’m in a tricky position, I know this, especially with Izzy winning that fight,” Whittaker told Submission Radio. “I know the path that UFC had was for Pereira to win, me to fight Pereira, beat Pereira, Izzy to fight me. That’s the rematch they wanted. That’s how they wanted it to happen. I’m pretty sure. And I’m not a hundred percent sure. I can’t read their minds. But it sounds good in my head. Now, Izzy’s won. Where does that leave me? I Don’t think Pereira’s staying in middleweight. I think he’s moving up. He would. You would think so anyway. So, where does that leave me? Yeah, I don’t know. But my general idea of getting that title shot is the same.”
Whittaker (24-6) is 12-2 in the middleweight division with his only two losses coming against Adesanya. There was an attempt to pair “The Reaper” against fellow contender Paulo Costa; however, contract negotiations torpedoed that bout. Now it seems “The Eraser” — who is back on board after signing a new deal — is not interested in fighting Whittaker.
And part-time middleweight Khamzat Chimaev continues to have visa issues.
“I spoke to the UFC. And I asked them, who do you want me to fight? And, they said that Costa doesn’t wanna fight me. They said the fight with Chimaev isn’t guaranteed because he has trouble moving around,” Whittaker said. “So, I have a family to provide for. I missed out on the fight with Costa. So, there’s a paycheck that just went to the ether. Yeah, I want a fight that’s gonna happen. I don’t wanna put 12 weeks in like Costa, camp through Christmas, to find out that I’m not only missing the fight, I’m not getting paid. Just wasting my time. I don’t want that to happen. I want to fight. I want a fight that will happen. Let alone, let’s be honest, it’s not like I’m gonna get paid extra cash for taking a fight with zero significance to moving towards the title. Khamzat, whilst he’s a good welterweight, he’s not a Top 10-ranked fighter in middleweight. He’s a great fighter and I think he can be for sure. But you gotta do due diligence, right?”
UFC matchmakers have their work cut out for them.