It seems we never really got the best Robert Whittaker in recent years.
Whittaker last competed at UFC 243 in October when he suffered a second-round knockout defeat to Israel Adesanya to lose his middleweight title. Many observers pointed to how Whittaker had an uncharacteristic performance at the time.
“The Reaper” was set to return in March this year against Jared Cannonier but pulled out as he later cited how he felt burned out and needed a mental break.
His 2017 and 2018 wars with Yoel Romero may have played a role as well. In fact, Whittaker claims he hasn’t even fought like himself since his first meeting with the Cuban when they clashed for the interim middleweight title.
“Like, probably Romero one,” Whittaker told Submission Radio when asked when he last fought like himself. “Romero two a little bit, but I was kind of getting a little bit stiff and pent up. And certainly not in the last fight. It is what it is.”
Whittaker Looking To Have Fun Against Till
The break seems to have done Whittaker well as he is happy and confident going into his July 25 headliner with Darren Till on Fight Island.
It’s even more so the case without the pressure of fighting for the title in front of an expectant home crowd this time.
“I’m just going to go in there to have fun with it, to be honest,” he said. “It’s one of those things where the pressure has been on so heavily and everything’s just been ramping up and ramping up and ramping up, I just want to take a step back, take all the skillsets I’ve been working on, and go in there and just be relaxed and let them out. I want to go out there and just have fun with it. I want to be creative with it, I just want to fight like me. I just want to enjoy the ride. I want to enjoy the experience.
“I’m looking forward for a change. To fight in a different country, no crowd, just a ranking fight. It’s going to be fresh. I feel the theme for this fight is fresh.”
How do you think Whittaker vs. Till will go?