Israel Adesanya says a third fight with Robert Whittaker isn’t necessary.
In February, Adensanya faced Whittaker at UFC 271, winning a unanimous decision and moving to 2-0 against the former middleweight champion. For “The Last Stylebender”, that settled the issue.
“He’s a great fighter,” Adesanya said at a press conference for 276 and 277. “I’ll give it to him, he’s a great fighter, but I know how this book ends. Read this book twice already. First time was a quick read, second time was a bit longer. Probably going to be on top for a while yet, but if we fight again, I know how this book ends. That’s why I’m excited for this next fight, new blood, someone I’ve never fought before.
“If he wants, he should go up to 205, see what it’s all about. Maybe try a little. But yeah, I’ve read that book before and I don’t like reading the same book over and over again.
Adesanya destroyed Whittaker in their first meeting, dropping ‘Bobby Knuckles’ several times before finishing the fight in the second round to win the UFC middleweight title. The rematch was much more competitive, with Whittaker feeling he had done enough to warrant a call. The judges disagreed, scoring the fight unanimously for Adesanya.
Now Whittaker is once again looking to work his way up to a title shot, starting with a main event fight against Marvin Vettori at UFC Paris. Adesanya, meanwhile, returns to defend his middleweight title against Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC 276 next month. It’s a fight that Adesanya is excited for and one he believes will be one of his best performances in the cage.
“I do not believe [Cannonier is my toughest opponent]said Adesanya. “It’s my first idea, but that doesn’t mean I underestimate him. Everyone is a tough challenger. He’s a guy who packs a lot. … He always carries that strength, so I don’t I can’t neglect it, but I don’t think it’s going to be the toughest challenge. I sincerely think I’m going to make this easy. I really believe I’m going to make this easy.
UFC 276 takes place July 3 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.