Robert Whittaker Outlines Why Being UFC Champ “Didn’t Agree With me Super-Well”
Robert Whittaker acknowledges that there are positives with being a UFC champ, but the fighter's admitted he wasn't really down with being the middleweight king.
Robert Whittaker is eager to fight again and to return to the win column. But, it doesn’t sound like we’ll hear the former champ repeatedly calling for a title shot in the coming months.
Whittaker admits he wasn’t a big fan of being champion
The 28-year-old, Australian resident had his run as the UFC’s 185 champion come to an end last month, when he was stopped by Israel Adesanya. The loss also snapped Whittaker’s nine-fight winning streak, which was one of the more impressive runs we’ve seen in recent years (as it included wins over the likes of Yoel Romero, “Jacare” Souza, Derek Brunson etc.).
“Yeah I kind of, I didn’t really like it that much. It’s one of those things that, it comes with some pros, but the cons really starting distracting me. There’s a lot of media, a lot of expectations and a lot of self-imposed pressure. It didn’t agree with me super-well,” Whittaker said.
“I’ve always been the sort of guy who just likes to fight. I like the challenge, I like the next opponent. I like to work at just how am going to beat you. Another thing is, I love being the underdog. I love people just writing me off like, ‘You’re going to lose.’ I love the struggle.”
“The biggest thing for me is that even through my journey in the division, that was never the objective. The title was never the objective, it was a result of.”
These comments seem to fit with Whittaker’s personality really. He has always been fairly soft spoken and doesn’t really engage in smack talk. So, the fact he didn’t really care for the massive spotlight that comes with being a champion isn’t shocking. He’s also not the first former champ to say they didn’t really enjoy their time holding the belt.
Whittaker reports he wants to fight…badly
Fans shouldn’t mistake Whittaker’s comments above, however, as an indication he’s not still hungry to compete. The talented and rugged fighter also said this:
“I just focused one one fight after the next after the next. And I just enjoyed it, loved doing it. I am now hungrier than ever, honestly I can say that. I am excited for the next fight and I am excited for what the future brings for next year. And I just can’t wait to get back in there.”
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Might we see Whittaker and Darren Till throwing hands this spring? That seems like a pretty solid fight to roll with no?