‘We need to run it back’ – Adesanya for Whittaker rematch in NZ

Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya face off ahead of their UFC 243 title fight. | Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

There’s very little chance the two men will face off outside the US this year, but fans could see Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 sometime this fall.

The next fight for Israel Adesanya couldn’t be clearer, and even the champ seems to know it. The ‘Last Stylebender’ breezed by Marvin Vettori for a dominant decision win in the main event of UFC 263. But, rather than sitting back on his laurels and waiting to see what the UFC would offer him next, he came primed with a call-out the moment the fight was over.

“Well you know, the old mozzie, my arch-nemesis, that other c-nt, what’s his name?” Adesanya told Joe Rogan immediately after the bout (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Whittaker. Bobby Knuckles. I knocked him out twice . . . I don’t know what the f-ck is gonna happen with this whole COVID thing but we need to run that back in Auckland. We need to run that back in my territory this time. I’ll tell you when it is. You don’t get to decide, I get to decide – cause why? I’m the motherf-cking king, b-tch.”

“I don’t wait around, you know me,” Adesanya said later at the post fight presser. “This is my third fight in nine months. I don’t wait around like the rest of these guys, the rest of these champions who talk about being active. I don’t talk about it, I just do it. I’m an active champion.”

The ‘Last Stylebender’ also reiterated his desire for the bout to take place in Auckland, New Zealand, but added that he’s entirely prepared to meet Whittaker on Fight Island or back in the US. UFC President Dana White seemingly shot down talk of going to Adesanya’s home country this year, telling reporters that he “would highly doubt it,” considering the ongoing COVID-19 protocols in place around international travel.

Whittaker had seemed primed to face Adesanya even before the Vettori fight, having run off his own dominant win streak over top contenders Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum in the past year—following his shocking KO loss to Adesanya in the two men’s first meeting at UFC 243. However, it seems that the ‘Reaper’ couldn’t come to an agreement with the UFC on their hoped June timing, and Vettori stepped in to fill the void. With that fight now out of the way, the stars appear to be all in alignment for Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2.

“That’s the thing I love about Adesanya,” White gushed when asked about the Whittaker fight. “Adesanya, before this fight happened, maybe two or three days ago, we got the word that ‘I want to fight again in October.’ He hasn’t even fought yet and this kid is already talking about his next fight. I love that. Adesanya has become a very badass champion for us. So yeah, we’ll figure out him and Whittaker ASAP.”

As for the former middleweight champ out of Australia? It seems like all parties are equally on board to get this bout made.

Rest up, see you soon. @ufc #ufc263

— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) June 13, 2021

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