Robert Whittaker has high praise for the last man who defeated him. That being two-time welterweight title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
Thompson finished Whittaker in the first round of their welterweight bout back in 2014. Since, Whittaker has racked up a nine-fight win streak and captured the middleweight championship of the world. Speaking to Grange TV, Whittaker had a ton of praise for Thompson, who he called the best outside fighter in MMA:
“You know who’s the best, I think the best person who fights on the outside is Wonderboy Thompson,” Whittaker said. “He fights on the outside, he gives you different looks from the outside. He’s got good long range attacks.
“And when he comes in, it’s hard to see because he disguises it behind other stuff. And a big thing with an outside fighter going on the inside to do those attacks, those sort of blitz fighters, you can’t blitz in a straight line. You can’t blitz with very one-dimensional attacks because a guy like Trinaldo who is controlling the center and playing a pretty good counter-game is going to sit there and wait for your timing.
“As you come in, if you don’t hurt him or you don’t get off first, he’s just going to pop you, pop you, pop you, and then you have to get back out and do that again.”
In regards to his past bout with Thompson, there has been criticism over the stoppage, with some believing it was a bit premature. However, Whittaker is respectful of the referee’s decision and isn’t holding any grudges over it:
“Again, I always support the ref’s decision,” Whittaker said. “I believe they’re doing what they think is best at the time. They have a heavy, heavy responsibility with a lot of pressure. This is coming from someone who feels a little salty from an early stoppage in my own career.
“When I got dropped by Thompson, I felt I could have kept fighting. But the ref stopped it and I was a little salty afterwards thinking I could have kept fighting. But then, I shouldn’t have let it get that far anyway.
“It was a great win for him and the ref’s doing the best job he can so I’m supporting the ref’s decision because it’s a hard job to do. And if any of the people are complaining, you think you can do better? Do better. Try.”
Whittaker will be unifying his title with interim champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 243 in Australia.
What do you think about Whittaker dubbing Thompson the best outside fighter in MMA?