Check out the latest breaking UFC NEWS
Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), the undefeated interim champ, will attempt to dethrone Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC), who hasn’t lost in nearly five years since moving up to 185 pounds, of the title in one of the most anticipated showdowns of the year.
No one has been able to get past Whittaker in this division, but Adesanya is certain the accomplishment has been saved for him. The former kickboxing standout said if the fight stays standing, it won’t be close.
“He’s a guy I can pick apart easily,” Adesanya told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Wednesday’s UFC 243 conference call. “A challenge I haven’t faced before? I don’t think so. He just does what he does very well. There’s only a certain amount of awkwardness that he has that I haven’t seen before, but he can try to prove me wrong. From what I see, though, I’ll pick him apart quite easily.”
The major advantages Adesanya sees in the title unifier are height and reach. He said he “100 percent” believes his range will be a serious problem for Whittaker, and if he’s looking at the narrow win Adesanya just had over Kelvin Gastelum in April as a roadmap for success, he’ll be sorely mistaken.
“I have these attributes that I use very well, and I think what his camp might look at the last fight and think when Kelvin was able to get close,” Adesanya said. “That was just an error at our part and a good game plan on their part. But we’ve taken care of those errors. I’m going to be able to use my height and reach like I always have.”
Adesanya has made a quick rise to the upcoming opportunity. He’s been in the UFC for less than two years and within that time has racked up six wins and an interim belt. During most of that time he’s criticized Whittaker for being an inactive champion, but he said that’s all about to change.
A break from competition could be in order with a win at UFC 243, but Adesanya said that when his reign is compared side-by-side with Whittaker’s, he will be in the octagon more.
“As a champion, I’ll be a lot more active as a champion than he’s been, and I’ll be a lot more active,” Adesanya said. “Maybe not at the beginning because of timing and everything else, but I’ll be an active champion.”
UFC 243 takes place Oct. 5 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. Adesanya vs. Whittaker headlines the pay-per-view main card, which follows prelims on ESPN and ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass.
News | MMA Junkie