Member Since: 1/1/01
#1 ranked UFC middleweight and #13 P4P fighter Robert Whittaker appeared recently on the ever tremendous Submission Radio and talked about his coming bout vs. Darren Till in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 32 on Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, on July 25. It's his first fight since losing the title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 in October.
“Honestly, it’s the same as it’s always been," said Whittaker. "It’s cool how it’s a different approach, but I’m not really thinking about whether Darren’s a cool guy or not. Before the fight was lined up it was cool to just josh back and forth, have a bit of fun with it, try to make some interest for the fight, but once we kind of knew we were fighting, I don’t really care what sort of person he is. It’s just one of those things where all I’m focusing on now is just focusing on crushing him.”
“Let me just say, I have no friends in the middleweight division. I can’t be friends with anybody I could be fighting. So, let’s just clear that up. And two, mate, we’re in the fight game. It’s cool to be lined up with a guy that isn’t acting like a Gronk, but at the end of the day, he’s coming to take what’s mine and I’m coming to take what’s his, and that’s the game we’re in. That’s the fight game, that’s the fight world.”
“The thing is, we’re just cool. He’s doing his thing, I’m doing mine. We have a bit of fun, but we’re both respectful. But don’t get this wrong, the weeks are getting closer and our sights are set on each other’s faces. It’s war time. I’m ready for the fight of my life, and I’m gonna bring the fight of his life.”
“He’s funny. I much prefer his approach to trash talking, if you would, than other people's. Because, like, I don’t understand why people need to get so into it. We’re gonna fight, you know what I mean? We’re gonna fight. I know some people have to get emotionally invested in it, but whatever. It’s a new approach, it’s original, it’s cool.”
“Honestly, I think he’s got a good skillset, but I think, honestly, I think I’m better across the board. I also hope I can get him out of there very quickly. And it’s not gonna be due to a lack of trying, trust me. But I’m prepared to make it a slugfest, I’m prepared to make it hell. I’m going to go in there and I’m gonna do my thing. And how it happens and how it works is, I’m gonna take the win where I see it.”
Refreshed and ready to get back in the Octagon, Whittaker detailed a time where he was looking to find that spark that he once had for fighting during his break.
"It’s not one of the things where I was like, I think I’m gonna retire," said Whittaker. "That wasn’t a thought in my head. It was more so, I knew that if during my break, if I didn’t find that spark, I would have to hang up the gloves. And like, I had to be cool with that possibility, because the whole thing going into my break, was not having any sort of preconceived notion on what I was gonna do, on how it was going to end and what I was going to do afterward, after the break. And that’s why it was so weird for me. Even trying to explain it now sounds weird. Just going out there with nothing on the table, no plans on what to do or anything, and just rest and relax and wake up. You’ll get it when I say, I went to bed and didn’t set an alarm to wake up. You know, I woke up with no plans on what to do that day. I just woke up and asked my family what they were doing, and then rinse and repeat. It was weird, but it was much needed, cause it just cleared so much clutter in my head.”
“Fortunately, for me, I have a great team, with my coaches and with the fellas and all the guys in the team, they’re so supportive of me. So, when I went there and I told them where I was at and stuff, we all started spit-balling, we all started brainstorming on what we could do, and especially with my coach Alex Prates and Andrew Kanatli, those two guys, I sat down with them and got their feedback on a lot of things, and they just said, like, it makes a hundred percent sense, you’ve been doing the same thing for seven years, and so many changes have been happening, but you’re not the same person you were seven years ago. And I’m not. I have more kids, I’m older, I’ve got different responsibilities. Things change, and you have to change with them. And they don’t have to be drastic changes, they just need to be little changes. Seven years ago I used stay up till 3am every night, but I can’t do that anymore because I’m tired. It’s that old body again. So, I have to just change with the times and make little tweaks to help my life integrate better into my work, if you would.”
Whittaker also offered respectful words for Mike Perry, who beat Mickey Gall at UFC on ESPN 12 Saturday night. Whittaker believes a move up could work.
“Definitely he can find success," said Whittaker. "He’s a tough guy, man. Every time I watch him, he surprises me, honestly. Because even that last fight, he wasn’t faster than Mickey Gall, but he looked like he just like… everything Mickey Gall threw at Mike, Mike just could handle it. He’d sprawl out of the shots, he’d counter with his own shots, when he got on top, he did damage. And he must hit hard. I assume that’s his ace, because there’s gotta be a reason why – well, given that he’s tough as nails, but he must hit bloody hard. I’m trying to crack the enigma of why Mike Perry is as successful as he is. But yeah, I definitely think just with him being tough and hitting hard and having that decent well-rounded skillset, like, I’m sure he could have success moving up.”
h/t Denis Shkuratov • Submission Radio