Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White recently announced the upcoming UFC 293 pay-per-view (PPV) event for Sept. 10 in Sydney, Australia, with reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya expected to headline the “Down Under” fight card.
In a perfect world, “The Last Stylebender” will defend his 185-pound title against the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis, who are scheduled to throw down as part of the UFC 290 lineup during International Fight Week at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But it sounds like the local media is already planning for Adesanya vs. Whittaker 3.
“Let me clarify everything,” Whittaker said on MMArcade podcast (via MMA News). “So every headline out there has put a picture of Israel and myself, UFC 293. Because that’s what makes headlines, especially locally in Australia. But that is such disrespect to the threat level that Dricus brings to the fight. I understand the amount of danger he presents to me in getting the win, in just furthering my career, bettering who I am in the Octagon.”
Whittaker (24-6) has already come up short in a pair of Adesanya title fights, his only two losses in the middleweight division. As for Du Plessis (19-2), he landed at No. 6 in the official 185-pound rankings by stopping Derek Brunson at UFC 285 last March in “Sin City.”
“He’s a dude that everyone has already ruled out,” Whittaker continued. “He’s a dude that has absolutely nothing to lose. And a man with nothing to lose is a scary individual. I understand this, and I’m training with the utmost respect and the gravity the fight deserves. I’m flogging myself day in and day out of the gym, preparing for a war. And expecting to take a war to him, expecting the war. I’m gonna live in that space. I’m not planning past Dricus. Them media is obviously pumping their headlines to get views and clicks, but I’m not looking past Dricus.”
The same can’t be said for Adesanya.