Boxing: Paul Gallen sets sights on UFC's Robert Whittaker after controversial Mark Hunt victory

NRL great Paul Gallen is eyeing up former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, after earning a controversial decision win over Kiwi mixed martial arts legend Mark Hunt.

Both Gallen and Hunt landed heavy shots during the six-round bout at Bankwest Stadium, but the former Cronulla Sharks skipper got the nod on the scorecards, 58-56, 58-56 and 59-55.

Gallen was rocked several times throughout the bout and barely troubled the 'Super Samoan', but his clinch work and superior fitness paid off late, as Hunt faded.

Gallen's win drew a mixed reaction to Gallen's win, with some punters claiming "robbery". 

The 39-year-old immediately turned his attention to Whittaker, accusing the New Zealand-born Aussie of "pricing" himself out of the fight.

"Rob Whittaker, I watched you a year ago," Gallen said after the fight. "You had an interview and were asked if you would fight me.

"You said 'yeah, I would fight him, but he wouldn't fight me'. You gave a condescending laugh.

"I'm here now and I'm happy to meet you in here, but stop pricing yourself out of it.

"I got nothing, but respect for him. I know him reasonably well, but I'm going to beat him

"I'm going to beat him, like I did Mark Hunt.

"I'm going to train hard, prepare for it and I'm going to have a good gameplan. I'm going to get in there and smash him."

Whittaker would represent a completely different challenge for Gallen to 45-year-old Hunt.

'The Reaper' is regarded as the second-best mixed martial arts middleweight in the world, behind Nigerian-Kiwi Israel Adesanya. 

Whittaker has won 11 of his last 12 inside the Octagon and is currently the No.1 contender for Adesanya's middleweight title.

Gallen's boxing record improved to 10-0-1 in 11 fights, although Hunt represents the only legitimate professional fighter he has beaten.