UFC: Robert Whittaker insists Israel Adesanya bout strictly 'Kiwi v Kiwi'

Australian UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has downplayed the trans-Tasman billing for his upcoming title fight against Auckland livewire Israel Adesanya.

The fight will likely take place on October 6 at the recently opened Bankwest Stadium in Western Sydney - Whittaker's first bout last June.

The bout has been described as an ANZAC scrap, but even though NZ-born Whittaker lives in Sydney and has the Aussie Southern Cross tattooed on his chest, he insists its Kiwi v Kiwi.

"It can't be an ANZAC clash," he told Newshub. "I was born here, how can it be?

"He called me a Mozzie [Maori Australian] - I don't even know what that is.

"I'm not a fake Kiwi, I was born here, but I don't care. If he wants to sell the fight, then thanks.

Whittaker feels the fight against Adesanya will be the best promotion for the sport downunder.

"I am pumped for the amount of spotlight New Zealand will this get for the fight. It's going to be a great fight for the ANZAC region, and it is going to move the sports to new heights in the area."

The opportunity for the two 'Kiwis' came about, after Whittaker was forced to withdraw from his previous bout.

Whittaker, 28, was meant to defend his title American Kelvin Gastelum three months ago in Melbourne but had to withdraw with a hernia of the intestine, and a twisted and collapsed bowel, which required immediate surgery.

That led to Adesanya fighting Gastelum, which he won by unanimous decision and the right to face Whittaker.

And after watching the Nigeria-born Adesanya throws at him beat Gastelum, Whittaker is confident he can handle anything thrown at him.

"He's got great striking and a phenomenal fighter, but I just don’t think it'll be enough.

"He's well-rounded, but I'm going to bring lots of heat. There is a reason why I'm at the top, and I'm going to prove that.

"He's got the charisma the way he conducts himself, the way he acts is very drawing for the public.

"You want to watch him, whether it's for him to win or lose, and I think the success he's had is great. I can't wait to fight him."


UFC: Robert Whittaker insists Israel Adesanya bout strictly 'Kiwi v Kiwi'