Robert Whittaker is preparing for, arguably, the biggest fight of his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
He’ll take on Israel Adesanya, unifying his undisputed middleweight title with the latter’s interim strap. All the action goes down in the main event of UFC 243 on pay-per-view (PPV) from Melbourne, Australia on October 5. Whittaker’s longtime jiu-jitsu coach, Alex Prates, recently spoke to MMA Fighting.
During the interview, Prates compared Whittaker to a “better version of GSP.”
“Maybe you’ll see Robert Whittaker using a style that I think is the one that suits him better but he never really needed it because it was always comfortable for him on the feet for most of his fights,” Prates said.
“With Yoel Romero, for example, it would have been stupid to try to take him down. But Robert has great wrestling and great timing. I honestly think Robert is a better version of GSP. And we might see this now.”
Prates also argues that two wins over middleweight powerhouse Yoel Romero are bigger than a potential win over the undefeated interim champion Adesanya.
“Robert defeated Romero twice. If you ask my personal opinion, my understanding of MMA, defeating Romero twice is a bigger feat than defeating Adesanya,” Prates said. “Israel definitely is a star here, but I think there’s a misunderstanding when people say he’s a new prospect.
“He’s older than Robert, he’s a veteran with more than 60 kickboxing fights. He’s super experienced, and that’s how we look at him. We don’t think his ground game is bad, that his wrestling is bad. He’s a MMA fighter. I just think that Robert combines it really well. When he combines his striking and wrestling, he’s really hard to read.”
What do you make of Whittaker’s coach comparing him to St-Pierre? Who are you picking at UFC 243?