Robert Whittaker Could Make $5 Million in Crossover Fight With Australian Boxing Champion Jai Opetaia

Robert Whittaker

Australian combat sports fans may be in line for a massive crossover fight as former UFC champion Robert Whittaker is slated to face newly crowned IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia in a showdown that could be the country’s own version of McGregor vs. Mayweather.

After his win over former cruiserweight king Mairis Briedis on July 2nd, Opetaia is setting his sights on the Aussie mixed martial artist. Per Opetaia’s manager Dean Lonergan, they have been in talks with Whittaker to organize a bout slated to take place in the first quarter of 2023. 

“Yes, I’ve had some talks with Rob Whittaker’s manager and he is open to it,” Lonergan said while speaking to News Corp. “It would be the biggest fight we could make in Australia from a pay-per-view, publicity, and credibility point of view. Jai is now Australia’s only boxing world champion and Rob is a UFC star who is acknowledged as one of the toughest fighters the world has ever seen, so it’s a fight that would be of interest.”

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Whittaker is currently scheduled to face middleweight division rival Martin Vettori on September 3rd. With the potential crossover aiming for March, it would give ‘The Reaper’ enough time to prepare to take on Opetaia following his upcoming appearance in the Octagon.

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While Whittaker has been adamant regarding his intent to once again challenge reigning champion Israel Adesanya, a potential $5 million payday would be hard to pass up.

“They have sparred in the past and if the finances are right for both guys, Whittaker’s management indicated that Rob would definitely be keen on it,” said Lonergan

At UFC 213, Robert Whittaker became the UFC’s interim middleweight champion, defeating Yoel Romero via unanimous decision. Following the retirement of Georges St Pierre, ‘The Reaper’ was promoted to the division’s undisputed champion. He would carry the title for 15 months before losing to ‘The Last Stylebender’ at UFC 243 via second-round knockout.

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