Mixed Martial Arts: Robert Whittaker keen on Israel Adesanya rematch after winning comeback fight

Robert Whittaker made a successful return to the Octagon in his first bout since losing to Israel Adesanya.
Robert Whittaker made a successful return to the Octagon in his first bout since losing to Israel Adesanya. Photo credit: Photosport

NZ-born UFC fighter Robert Whittaker is hopeful of a rematch against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya whether it's "in the UFC, or in a parking lot at Macca's 20 years from now''.

In his first bout since losing the middleweight title to Adesanya last October, Whittaker secured a unanimous decision victory over Darren Till after five back-and-forth rounds on UFC's Fight Island on Sunday (NZ time). 

Whittaker was knocked down early on in the fight, but recovered in a clash he called "stressful" and compared it to a "chess match".

"When a champ loses his belt, the first fight back is terrifying," he says

"I want a title shot. I believe I deserve [it], especially after the performance I showed tonight. I'm world-class.

"As a fighter, I want to run it back with Adesanya. No fighter likes leaving a loss with someone. It just eats away at me.

"If it's not in the UFC, or if it's in a parking lot at Macca's 20 years for now, let's run it back."

For Till, a win could've propelled him into a title fight against the winner of the UFC 253 bout between Adesanya and challenger Paulo Costa, with their fight due to take place in September at Fight Island or in Las Vegas.

But Adesanya doesn't seem interested in fighting Whittaker, instead he expressed an interest in facing England's Till one day. 

"I still wanna fight Till one day," Adesanya wrote on Twitter. "His striking is beautiful."

When asked about Adesanya's comments, Till said he would be interested in the bout. 

"I've got a lot of respect for Israel," says Till. "I think he's a great fight.

"This is no disrespect for him, but I think he's probably an easier fight for me than Rob because we'd probably have a great striking battle.

"Rob's a bit different because he mixes it up. Israel's the champ, he's a great MMA fighter, but he's a pure striker. 

"I think we'd have a great fight. Rob mixed it up a little bit. He's wild. ... [Adesanya and I are] going to fight. I'll come back, I'll knock someone out, and we'll fight."

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