Adesanya out to ‘have fun’ against Whittaker at UFC 243
Israel Adesanya says he plans to “have fun the whole way” when he steps into the octagon against Robert Whittaker in their huge UFC 243 title unification fight on Sunday.
Middleweight champion Whittaker (20-4) of Australia goes up against undefeated interim champion Adesanya (17-0) of Nigeria and New Zealand at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, in what is expected to be the biggest gate in UFC history with more than 55,000 fans.
And ‘The Last Stylebender’ looks to continue his undefeated ways with a victory over Whittaker, and have some fun in the process.
“It’s going to be me having fun the whole way,” said Adesanya, in a pre-fight interview with Sports Illustrated. “I just have to have fun and keep that same energy, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Adesanya and Whittaker are without a doubt two of the world’s most elite middleweight mixed martial artists, but some in Whittaker’s camp feel the 30-year-old Nigerian’s wrestling ability will be a weakness when he takes on the 28-year-old Aussie.
“Whittaker can believe whatever he wants to believe,” continued Adesanya. “Belief and reality are two separate things, and I’ll show him what’s real in the cage.
“And when people talk about the fight, that’s all white noise. I use it to my advantage when I can, but most of the time, it’s just white noise that I either laugh at, scoff at, or ignore.
“Look at what Whittaker said about my last fight [against KelvinGastelum in April at UFC 236]. He said I don’t have any pop in my punches. But, like I said, reality is a lot different than what he believes.
“Look at Whittaker’s last fight [against Yoel Romero in June 2018 at UFC 225]. He fought a 42-year-old wrestler and got dropped and spun around. I’m not a 42-year-old wrestler. If he gets touched by me multiple times, we all know where the fight is going.”
Adesanya is most pundits’ favourite to emerge victorious in Melbourne but he insists he is not resting on his past success.
“To me, that’s the challenge,” he continued. “Look at all the champs over time once they get the belt – they just fall off. I’m not one of those guys. The belt isn’t my ultimate prize; it just looks good with all my other gold, chains, and diamonds.”
He added: “The belt is a challenge. But me beating Robert Whittaker in Melbourne, Australia, his home country, that drives me more than just winning a belt.”
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