Robert Whittaker on Dricus du Plessis vs. Israel Adesanya: ‘I can see Adesanya just piecing him up for 5 rounds’

Robert Whittaker is disappointed with recent middleweight rumors.

Dricus du Plessis was expected to defend his middleweight title against former two-time champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 305 in Perth, Australia. The fight wasn’t made official. But on Tuesday, du Plessis went on social media and accepted the matchup and location, to Whittaker’s disappointment.

“Adesanya fighting for a title again hurts me,” Whittaker said with a laugh on his MMArcade podcast. “But I understand. Dricus asked for it. He’s the champ, [he] gets what he wants. Adesanya is a draw. It seems like the fight that was going to happen, in my opinion.”

Whittaker has history with both Adesanya and du Plessis. Adesanya knocked out “Bobby Knuckles” for the middleweight title at UFC 243 in Australia, and he then won a contentious split decision over Whittaker in the rematch three years later. Meanwhile, du Plessis finished Whittaker at UFC 290 to punch his own ticket to a middleweight title shot.

Based on his familiarity with both, Whittaker can see this fight playing out in one of two ways.

“It’s an interesting fight,” Whittaker said. “I can see Adesanya just piecing him up for five rounds. But in saying that, Dricus is tough as nails, and he’s awkward. I can also see Dricus just getting in there and making it awkward, and, I don’t know, taking him out of his rhythm. We saw when Adesanya fought Strickland, Strickland pushing that pace and moving into his space changed the rhythm of the fight.

“Adesanya didn’t adapt to that very well. I think if Dricus does the same, he might have the same sort of success.”

UFC 305 takes place on Aug. 18 at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. In the meantime, Whittaker has his own fight to worry about. The former UFC middleweight champion faces Khamzat Chimaev in the main event of UFC Saudi Arabia on June 22, in Riyadh.