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Robert Whittaker Calls out Israel Adesanya After UFC Win vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2021

Yoel Romero, left, fights Robert Whittaker in a middleweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 213, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Robert Whittaker wants his rematch against Israel Adesanya, and he wants it now.

Whittaker called out the UFC middleweight champion Saturday night after his unanimous-decision triumph over Kelvin Gastelum, saying he thinks a second fight would go differently.

"I think it's about time we crossed paths once again. I think we can get a sold-out stadium. They might even open up the borders for Australians in September. Let's make that happen...I'm going to work hard. I think I have some tricks he hasn't seen yet, and I'll give him a good run," Whittaker said.

Adesanya earned a second-round knockout of Whittaker at UFC 243 in a bout that unified the middleweight title and established The Last Stylebender as the premier fighter in the division. He's since defended the championship twice before trying his luck as a light heavyweight, losing to Jan Błachowicz at March's UFC 259 event.

"You'll see me back at 205 [pounds] later in the future," Adesanya told reporters. "Right now, I've got a division I've got to dominate. I know what they're thinking, 'Oh, that's it, you've just got to take him down and then you've got him.' All right, cool, bet, but I'll remind them again why I'm the king of 185."

UFC President Dana White also said he felt Adesanya should keep his focus on middleweight for the foreseeable future.

Adesanya is undefeated at 185, winning his first nine UFC fights and first 20 overall before struggling in his 205-pound debut.

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Whittaker has reeled off three straight unanimous-decision wins in the division since his loss to Adesanya, establishing himself as a clear-cut top contender for a title fight. His defeat at the hands of Adesanya is the only time he has lost in his last 13 bouts.

The UFC currently has Whittaker listed as the No. 1 middleweight contender and 13th-ranked pound-for-pound fighter.