Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is eager to get back inside the Octagon after falling to Dricus Du Plessis at the UFC 290 pay-per-view (PPV) event earlier this month in Las Vegas, and now “The Reaper” has an extra contender available to choose from in the Top 10 of the 185-pound division.
“Remember we ruled out Sean Strickland, because we thought he was fighting Izzy in September,” Whittaker said on his MMArcade Podcast (transcribed by MMA News). “But that doesn’t look to be happening anymore. I can’t see Sean Strickland jumping Dricus if they don’t fight September. I’m not gonna rule him out of the discussion of my next fight.”
The victory over Whittaker was expected to send Du Plessis into battle against reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya; however, “Stillknocks” will remain sidelined until the end of the year. “The Last Stylebender” petitioned matchmakers to have Strickland replace Du Plessis at UFC 293 but that request was swiftly denied.
“The division is kind of backed up at the moment, and there’s a lot of moving pieces that are just not moving in the way I want them to,” Whittaker continued. “But regardless, I’m gonna focus on just getting back into that winning track. I’m excited for the training. I’m back in training already. I’ve been back in the gym hustling, and I am more eager than ever to get back in there. So I don’t know who it’s gonna be, but we’ll wait and see.”
UFC 293 is just over a month away and still does not have a headlining act. Since the card is being held in Sydney, Australia, it would make sense to have local talent like Adesanya atop the lineup. Featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski is also an option, depending on his health, but the promotion has yet to make any official announcements.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 293 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPNN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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