Israel’s ruthless condition for Whittaker rematch

Israel Adesanya says Robert Whittaker must win at least three times before given another UFC middleweight title shot, with the New Zealander quickly adding: “But after I’ve beaten him twice, that’s it”.

Speaking with The Daily Telegraph on the eve of his hyped UFC 248 title bout with Yoel Romero, Adesanya said he expects a rematch with Whittaker, but only after the Aussie fight favourite earns it.

Last October, the undefeated Kiwi not only stole Whittaker’s gold strap via lethal left hook, but KO’d the hometown favourite before a crowd of 57,127.

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Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya during their title fight last year. Picture: AAP/Michael DodgeSource:AAP

Elsewhere, Adesanya is also predicting the UFC will one day compete on a level playing field with southern hemisphere sporting goliaths rugby league, rugby union and AFL.

Better, the 30-year-old has vowed to lead the charge personally from this Sunday (AEST), when he doesn’t simply defend against Cuban monster Romero, but become “the first guy to ever really f… him up”.

A UFC debutant only two years ago, Adesanya catapulted himself into the Australian sports consciousness after dethroning Whittaker on the same morning as the NRL Grand Final.

Later this year, UFC officials will again go head-to-head with rugby league after announcing UFC 251 for Perth Arena on June 6 – three days after the State of Origin opener at Adelaide Oval.

Israel Adesanya KO’d Robert Whittaker in the second round. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

Asked about facing Whittaker again, Adesanya replied: “I see Rob in my future definitely.

“There’s no doubting if he beats two more guys, or probably three more guys they will put him in a rematch with me.

“And Robert Whittaker is a tough guy – I just made our fight look easy.

“Plus, once the rematch is done, that will be it. I beat him once, twice, it’s over.”

Asked about the UFC going up against events like the NRL Grand Final and Origin, Adesanya said he could see a day when the UFC was considered an equal.

“And obviously a change like that won’t happen any time soon,” he said.

“But can it happen eventually? Yeah, I think it will.

Yoel Romero. Picture: AAP/Richard WainwrightSource:AAP

“When the people who are young right now, when they become our boomers, I think the sport is really going to grow.

“We’re never going out of style.”

Yet what is going out of style, according to Adesanya, is UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

While Jones may be the undisputed No.1, the fighter dubbed ‘Last Stylebender’ insists a strong win over Romero this weekend will see him leap frog his arch rival in every area.

“I look at his (Jones) past two fights, they were lacklustre as f…,” Adesanya says.

“So my stock, it’s going to shoot up way past his this weekend.

“And he’s going to be salty afterwards, jealous knowing he’s no longer that guy.

“Jon says ‘I’m the greatest’ of all time … but he ain’t, he ain’t the one.

“That’s why against Romero, the guy everyone avoids, I want to starch him, really smash Romero up.

“That way I become that guy everyone wants to avoid. I want to become the new bogeyman of this division, clean it out completely.”

Originally published asIsrael’s ruthless condition for Whittaker rematch

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