The former UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is going to face the former interim champion, Kelvin Gastelum, in his next fight on 18th April. Gastelum is coming in this fight as a replacement for Paulo Costa.
Robert Whittaker is utterly confident that it is going to be an easy win for him. In his latest interview with MMA Junkie, Whittaker says, “I think I’m going to be too much for him, my striking is too crisp. I think it’s too fast. I think I’ve got too many weapons.”
“He may try to take me down a couple of times, and I only think it’ll work to his detriment because it’s a five-round fight and wrestling takes it out of you.”
“I think I put him away in the second. … All I know is I’m going to go into this fight the best Robert Whittaker I’ve been, and I’m going into this fight very happy – and a happy Rob is a very dangerous one.”
Robert Whittaker preferred to stay active in the division
Whittaker was booked to face Paulo Costa but after Costa withdraws his name from the fight due to illness he took the Gastelum fight. The champion Israel Adesanya doesn’t want to face Whittaker in a rematch and ‘The Reaper’ plans to stay active in the division until he got the title shot.
He added, “I was pretty dead set on competing at the date that was originally put down, I’d gone through most of the camp. All the work was done. I had organized my whole life around that date.”
“So to be able to still compete on that date – thankfully Gastelum stepped in, and I’m still able to do that. I’m very fortunate. I got upset at first. My OCD flared up, and I don’t like last-minute changes. But I started looking at the silver lining.”
“I’m still very happy to fight at that date. All the work was done. I wanted to fight on that date. I wanted to get a fight in, and they’re all killers at the end of the day. It doesn’t really matter who it is that I’m fighting.”
“Honestly, there’s no fight I look forward to. There’s no fight I particularly want to run or anything like that. I’ll fight whoever I’m supposed to. Whoever they put into the ring with me, I’ll go at.”
“I do feel like I owe him a fight because we were supposed to fight and it fell through, so the fact that we get to cross paths now is better late than never.”
Whittaker believes Gastelum will be coming with a changed mentality
Kelvin Gastelum won his first fight against Ian Heinisch since losing his title against Adesanya and Robert Whittaker believes he will be entering into this fight with a different mentality.
Whittaker added, “Fights like that definitely take it out of you. So the war he had with Izzy – yeah, it takes it out of you, you can’t have too many fights like that. I know first hand because it took it out of me.”
“But he’s back in the winning column now, so his confidence is going to be higher than it has been and he’s going to come at me. He’s got nothing to lose, so I think it’ll be an interesting fight.”
“Definitely, the styles make fights. He went into that fight with a game plan of wrestling and controlling the fight that way. I don’t think he’s going to be able to do that against me, so he’ll adjust. I’ll adjust and we’ll have to see what happens on the night.”