Robert Whittaker questions the hype that the UFC and fight fans are building for rising prospect Israel Adesanya.
The contender scored a unanimous decision win over former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in the headliner of UFC 234 on February 9, 2019, from Melbourne, Australia.
With Whittaker set to be out of action until this summer, the UFC decided it was best to have Kelvin Gastelum and Adesanya battle it out for the interim middleweight title at UFC 236.
The UFC middleweight champion made it known during a recent interview that he thinks Adesanya’s performance against Silva was underwhelming.
“I wasn’t impressed with his performance against Anderson,” Whittaker said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show (H/T to MMANews). “If anything, I was impressed with Anderson’s performance against Adesanya. Anderson is not in his heyday anymore. He’s easily on his way out. Everyone can see that. And for Anderson to put up such a good fight.
“You know, I gave Anderson that second round. For him to put up such a good fight against a dude who’s on a tear with such a high-level striking skillset, and is running through people, I thought props to Anderson.”
“Adesanya’s very good. Don’t get me wrong. I just think he’s trying to build a hype train that doesn’t exist. Get Adesanya to run the gauntlet like I did,” Whittaker said. “Let’s see if he looks the same afterwards.”
The UFC 236 pay-per-view event is set to take place on Saturday, April 13, 2019. The main card will air on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET. The preliminary card will air on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET and the the UFC’s streaming service, Fight Pass.