In February, Adensanya rematched Whittaker at UFC 271, winning a unanimous decision and moving to 2-0 over the former middleweight champion. For “The Last Stylebender,” that settled the matter.
“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 that book ends. I’ve read that book twice already. First time was a quick read, second time was a little bit longer. He’s probably going to be at the top for a little while longer, but if we fight again, I know how that book ends. That’s why I’m excited about this next fight, some new blood, someone I’ve never fought before.
“If he wants, he should go up to 205, see what that’s about. Maybe try that for a little bit. But yeah, I’ve read that book already, and I don’t like reading the same book over and over again.”
Adesanya destroyed Whittaker in their first encounter, dropping “Bobby Knuckles” repeatedly before finishing the fight in the second round to claim the UFC middleweight title. The rematch was much more competitive, with Whittaker believing he did enough to warrant a decision. The judges disagreed, scoring the bout unanimously for Adesanya.
Now, Whittaker again looks to climb the ladder 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 bout Adesanya is excited for and one he believes will be one of his best performances in the cage.
“I don’t believe [Cannonier is my toughest opponent],” Adesanya said. “That’s my first inkling, but it doesn’t mean I underestimate him. Everyone is a tough challenger. He’s a guy that packs a lot. ... He still carries that strength around, so I can’t overlook him, but I don’t think he’ll be the toughest challenge. I honestly think I’ll make this easy. I really believe I will make this look easy.”
UFC 276 takes place July 3 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.