Robert Whittaker Explains The Predicament Kelvin Gastelum Is In

Former UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker views fierce competition as the main hurdle in Kelvin Gastelum’s career.

#1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker will go against Israel Adesanya in a rematch at UFC 271 this February to reclaim t…

Robert Whittaker Kelvin Gastelum

Former UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker views fierce competition as the main hurdle in Kelvin Gastelum‘s career.

#1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker will go against Israel Adesanya in a rematch at UFC 271 this February to reclaim the championship. He knows firsthand what it is like to lose to “The Last Stylebender” and refuses to let it be his downfall.

Robert Whittaker (left) and Israel Adesanya / Photo Credit: Michael Dodge/EPA

Since the UFC 243 loss, the New Zealand-born fighter has been on a winning streak, including a win against Gastelum and the middleweight division’s #3-ranked fighter Jared Cannonier, who bested Gastelum by unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 43.

In contrast, Kelvin Gastelum has experienced a setback after his loss to Israel Adesanya back in 2019 and questions his place in his current weight class.

“I don’t see him going back down to 170. He’s a thick dude. He hits like a ton of bricks as well. I don’t see him going down to 170. He’s just in that awkward spot that I think a lot of guys get in, where they find it hard, they’re coming up against the highest tier up at the top of the ladder, but they crush a lot of the dudes coming up onto the ladder. So he’s kind of getting caught in that gatekeeping sort of spot,” Whittaker said about Gastelum in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.

The middleweight division certainly is home to some incredible UFC talent such as Sean Strickland, Jack Hermansson, Derek Brunson, and, of course, Israel Adesanya. Every fighter is hungry to be the champion. And with only one win out of his last six fights, Kelvin Gastelum may have a long journey ahead.

But despite the defeats, “The Reaper” had nothing other than positive things to say about the #10 middleweight:

“I’ve got a lot of love for that guy, I really like him. I’ve got a lot of respect for him as well. He’s had a bit of a rough skid lately, just because he’s been fighting hard guys. He’s been fighting top-tier opponents. It is not easy… fighting, playing, and trying to advance up in the top five. It is hard. Everyone up there is the best in the world. Everyone up there could be the next champ. We’ve seen that with him. He’s been fighting the highest-quality opponents,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie.

Kelvin Gastelum
Image Credit: Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Struggling to make weight caused Gastelum’s move up to the middleweight division in 2016. But following his Ultimate Fighter 17 win in 2013, Kelvin Gastelum sped through the welterweight rankings. Despite fewer losses at 170 and talks of hiring a dietician to help maintain his weight, we may see Gastelum in a welterweight bout in 2022.

With seven knockouts under his name, the veteran fighter possesses the potential to move back up in the rankings just like other fighters have done in the past, Whittaker believes.

“He’s my age, I think, so he’s got years to evolve and change his game, and to develop new skillsets. I see him developing himself and coming back with better versions of himself. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Kelvin Gastelum,” Whittaker continued.

What do you think is next for Kelvin Gastelum?

Continue Reading Robert Whittaker Explains The Predicament Kelvin Gastelum Is In at MMA News.

EXCLUSIVE | Robert Whittaker Reflects On UFC 243 Loss To Israel Adesanya: ‘It Wasn’t Me Out There’

Robert WhittakerAhead of his UFC middleweight championship rematch with current kingpin, Israel Adesanya next month, former titleholder, Robert Whittaker has reflected deeply on his title unification loss to the City Kickboxing standout back in October 2019. Headlining the Melbourne, Australia card on home soil, Whittaker dropped his first and only loss at middleweight since, succumbing to […]

Robert Whittaker

Ahead of his UFC middleweight championship rematch with current kingpin, Israel Adesanya next month, former titleholder, Robert Whittaker has reflected deeply on his title unification loss to the City Kickboxing standout back in October 2019.

Headlining the Melbourne, Australia card on home soil, Whittaker dropped his first and only loss at middleweight since, succumbing to second round strikes against the then-interim middleweight champion at UFC 243. The loss snapped Whittaker’s lengthy 12-fight undefeated run at 185lbs.

Robert Whittaker rides a three-fight winning run into his UFC 271 rematch with Israel Adesanya

In the time since, however, Whittaker has successfully rebounded to title contention once again, and rides an impressive three-fight winning spree into his UFC 271 rematch on February 12. 

However, questions have been constantly posed to the Melbourne-born technician ahead of his title re-run with Adesanya, particularly regarding a reckless approach to the 2019 title unification bout, that resulted in his championship loss. 

Reflecting on the result and his performance during a recent interview with LowKick MMA reporter, Jordan Ellis, Whittaker admitted that he wasn’t satisfied with the display he turned in – regardless of result.

“That’s the over-arching feature: it’s the feeling I get moving into this next fight,” Robert Whittaker said. “It’s that, you know – I am confident, and I am satisfied with who I am, and why I do it, and what I’m doing to get to this fight (at UFC 271). That, when I get in there, I’m going to give it my absolute, 100 percent. And I will be satisfied with the result if I can do that.”

“Because I didn’t get that satisfaction after the first fight (against Israel Adesanya),” Robert Whittaker continued. “I lost, but I didn’t feel like I gave 100 percent, I didn’t feel like  – it wasn’t me out there. I felt like, in the lead-up, it wasn’t how I wanted to do things. So like I said, if I can do all that in this fight moving forward, I’ll be satisfied.”

Since his knockout loss to Adesanya, Whittaker has compiled a three-fight winning run, taking unanimous decision wins against the trio of Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and in April, against common-foe, Kelvin Gastelum.

EXCLUSIVE | Robert Whittaker Will Utilize His ‘Complete Skillset’ To Beat Israel Adesanya

Robert WhittakerRobert Whittaker has revealed his game plan ahead of his eagerly anticipated rematch with Israel Adesanya at UFC 271, which is set to take place on February 22 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. ‘The Reaper’ is hoping to regain the middleweight title he lost to Adesanya at UFC 243 back in 2019. Whittaker […]

Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker has revealed his game plan ahead of his eagerly anticipated rematch with Israel Adesanya at UFC 271, which is set to take place on February 22 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

‘The Reaper’ is hoping to regain the middleweight title he lost to Adesanya at UFC 243 back in 2019. Whittaker admits that he was “unsatisfied” with how he performed in his last fight with ‘Stylebender’ and will adopt a different approach to ensure he gives a better account of himself next month.

“I want to utilize my complete skillset, “Whittaker told LowKickMMA. “You’ve seen in my recent fights I’ve truly adapted to MMA. I’ve been utilizing my wrestling and grappling. That’s more or less what I wanna do. I want to get on there and I want to utilize my complete skillset. I want to use my striking and if I see opportunities for takedowns, I want to take him down to the ground. I want to fight him on the ground. I want to make him uncomfortable because I’m very confident in my grappling. You know, if I can mix that in and give him different looks and give him different angles I think I can make him uncomfortable.

Robert Whittaker Vows To Give Israel Adesanya A Tough Fight

The 31-year-old isn’t sure how his rematch with ‘Stylebender’ will play out, but he is certain that he’ll make the UFC middleweight champ work hard for however long the fight lasts.

“I think it would be too presumptuous of me to say I’ll take him out,” Whittaker said. “I’m gonna give him a hard fight, let me tell you. I’m doing everything I can in preparation for this fight to get in there and give him a hard fight and give my all for it. Yeah, that’s the only thing I can bank on, (I’ll) give him a hard one.”

Do you think Robert Whittaker will be able to regain the middleweight title by beating Israel Adesanya at UFC 271?

EXCLUSIVE | Robert Whittaker Expects ‘Respectful’ Build-Up To UFC 271

Robert WhittakerFormer UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker isn’t expecting him and Israel Adesanya to talk a lot of trash ahead of UFC 271. Whittaker lost the middleweight title to Adesanya at UFC 243 in front of a raucous crowd in Melbourne, AU. After getting knocked out, Whittaker has managed to work his way back to the […]

Robert Whittaker

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker isn’t expecting him and Israel Adesanya to talk a lot of trash ahead of UFC 271.

Whittaker lost the middleweight title to Adesanya at UFC 243 in front of a raucous crowd in Melbourne, AU. After getting knocked out, Whittaker has managed to work his way back to the title shot and possible revenge against Adesanya.

Whittaker and Adesanya dove head-first into Australia vs. New Zealand rivalry ahead of UFC 243. While there wasn’t obvious hate and disdain between the two of them, there was surely tension and a bit of mental warfare leading up to the fight.

During an exclusive interview with LowKickMMA’s Jordan Ellis, Whittaker spoke about the possibility of lightning striking twice when it comes to the pre-fight fanfare.

“The only thing I can control is myself and my actions,” Whittaker said. “I have completely come to terms with why I do things, how I do things, and my ego certainly won’t be a problem going into the next fight.

“I don’t see myself getting affected as much. I think him seeing that he won’t try and push it,” Whittaker continued. I think we can have a really respectful fight. It’s the second fight and we’re the two biggest names down this side of the world so, yeah, I think it’ll be something different.”

Robert Whittaker Has Worked His Way Back To The UFC Middleweight Title

Whittaker has won three fights in a row since his first UFC middleweight loss to Adesanya. He’s earned three-straight unanimous decisions over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum over the past two years.

During this same time, Adesanya has emerged as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and has dominated challengers to his throne. He most recently put on a striking clinic against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263.

Regardless of what happens at UFC 271, it’s clear that Whittaker and Adesanya will be directly linked for years to come. This time around, it’s all business between the two best middleweights in the world.

What is your prediction for Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya 2?

Robert Whittaker Attributes Loss To Israel Adesanya To His Ego

Robert Whittaker, Israel AdesanyaFormer UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker may have gotten into his way when he lost the title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243. Whittaker’s first path to the UFC middleweight belt was messy, to say the least. After earning the interim title over Yoel Romero at UFC 213, he was slated to face Romero again […]

Robert Whittaker, Israel Adesanya

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker may have gotten into his way when he lost the title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243.

Whittaker’s first path to the UFC middleweight belt was messy, to say the least. After earning the interim title over Yoel Romero at UFC 213, he was slated to face Romero again for the belt that Georges St-Pierre had vacated but held onto the title in a split decision at UFC 225 after Romero failed to make weight.

After pulling out of his originally scheduled title defense against Kelvin Gastelum, he would go on to eventually face Adesanya for the unified belt at UFC 243. He would love via a vicious knockout in the second round in front of the hometown crowd in Australia.

During a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Whittaker explains what he thinks went wrong with his approach to Adesanya.

“I think (Adesanya) even mentioned it – that my ego was something that affected me,” Whittaker said. “As much as I don’t want to acknowledge my opponent for insight, my ego probably was a big thing, was a big part of why my headspace wasn’t where it should’ve been for that fight – why I was letting the debate between Australia and New Zealand get to me, why I was letting all these little things get to me. It showed. The results of that showed in the way I was behaving, in the way, I put the fight together, and the way I was fighting at the moment. I’ve acknowledged all of that and you can see obviously I’ve come to terms with all of that and I’m a different fighter now than I was then.”

Robert Whittaker Has Worked His Way Back To Israel Adesanya

Whittaker has rebounded well since his loss to Adesanya, putting together three-straight wins over the likes of Gastelum, Jared Cannonier, and Darren Till. Now, he’ll get his chance for revenge at UFC 271.

It’s clear that Whittaker and Adesanya have some level of dislike for each other, but it’ll be up to Whittaker to not fall for the mind games and focus on the task at hand.

What is your prediction for the Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya rematch at UFC 271?

Robert Whittaker Supports Jake Paul’s Proposal For Increased UFC Perks

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker supports Jake Paul’s idea of the UFC brass providing healthcare to its fighters as well as other changes.

Whittaker is set to face middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in a title rematch next month…

Robert Whittaker, Jake Paul

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker supports Jake Paul’s idea of the UFC brass providing healthcare to its fighters as well as other changes.

Whittaker is set to face middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in a title rematch next month at UFC 271. He has managed to get back to the title shot after winning three straight bouts, including most recently against Kelvin Gastelum and Jared Cannonier.

Paul recently offered to retire from boxing and sign a one-fight deal with the UFC if company president Dana White meets certain demands. This includes long-term healthcare for fighters, along with increasing fighter pay.

During a recent interview with Mirror, Whittaker praised the idea of giving UFC fighters additional benefits that extend long after their careers are over.

“It’s hard to say, all the chips are in the company’s playing field,” Whittaker said. “I would certainly love some healthcare, I would love that long-term post-fighting career security and I’m sure every fighter would. I would like different things to change.

Robert Whittaker
Robert Whittaker (Photo: Fernando Quiles Jr./MMA News)

“But I’m not crying over spilt milk, it is what it is. I’m very blessed to be able to do what I do for a living anyway. Instead of asking for what I don’t have, I’m grateful for what I do have.”

In a preliminary response to Paul’s challenge, White hit back at Paul and accused him of steroid use. Paul had previously accused White of using cocaine without sufficient evidence.

Many fighters, including Whittaker and UFC welterweight Jorge Masvidal, have called for changes to be made to how fighters are treated by the promotion. The ongoing debate over UFC fighter pay has ramped up over the past year.

It’s unclear if the UFC has any upcoming plans to add benefits for its fighters, but Whittaker is certainly on board with Paul regarding long-term health care.

Do you think UFC fighters should receive long-term healthcare?

Continue Reading Robert Whittaker Supports Jake Paul’s Proposal For Increased UFC Perks at MMA News.