Israel Adesanya continued to taunt middleweight champion Robert Whittaker ahead of their proposed title unification fight later this year.
After winning the interim middleweight title last month, Adesanya wasted no time in initiating the mind games with Whittaker.
“The Last Stylebender” called Whittaker a “fake Aussie” and claimed he regularly talked smack about him when they weren’t face to face.
Whittaker, who for his part is usually quiet and polite, never quite understood the overreactions and animosity coming from Adesanya.
“He says I’m a fake Aussie, fake New Zealander, that’s just ridiculous,” Whittaker said in response on Ariel Helwani‘s MMA Show (via The Mac Life). “I don’t think anyone really pays any mind to it, cause if I’m a fake New Zealander, then what is he?
“He can’t stand people like me more than they like him, he can’t stand the fact that people are talking about me in the same sentence as him, he wants all the attention, Just relax mate, you got a shiny belt, we can fight for my one later.”
Regardless, Adesanya continued his antics late Thursday night with another dig at Whittaker’s heritage.
Whittaker, of course, represents both Australia and New Zealand. He was born in the latter but moved to the former when he was one month old.
Adesanya, meanwhile, has resided in New Zealand since moving there from Nigeria at the age of 13.
Fans were not pleased with Adesanya for continuing to take seemingly unprovoked potshots at the champion, but he claimed it was in response to an Instagram post by Whittaker.
While that can be classed as simply pre-fight banter, it’s hard to see where else Whittaker has “talked trash” about Adesanya. The only other thing he said was that Adesanya was not as good as he thought he was, which the latter hasn’t taken well.
Whether one thinks Adesanya is going too far with the trash talk, he’s certainly making their upcoming title unification fight more heated and intriguing.
As for when and where that fight could happen, a recent report claimed it could happen at UFC 243 taking place at the Bankwest stadium in Sydney, Australia. The date of the event is slated for October 5.