“I will come back stronger from this,” Robert Whittaker explained. “And I will come back, hopefully, by the end of the year. I wanna get in the Octagon by the end of the year. I wanna get in there – finish and close the year with a win, and bring back ‘The Reaper’ you guys all know.” Suffering his first knockout loss at the middleweight limit since a 2019 title unification defeat to current gold holder, Israel Adesanya, had secured an impressive unanimous decision win over Italian contender, Marvin Vettori in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night Paris back in September of last year in a passage to France. Finished by strikes for just the third time in his professional career at the T-Mobile Arena, Whittaker – whose sole other knockout loss came in the form of a 2014 TKO defeat to former two-time welterweight title challenger, Stephen Thompson, admitted that he had not shown up to fight over the weekend.
Robert Whittaker targets end-of-year Octagon return after UFC 290 loss
“Congratulations to Dricus (du Plessis),” Robert Whittaker said in a video posted on his official Twitter account. “He showed up to fight – and I didn’t. Like, that’s the nature of the beast, you know – that’s the nature of the beast. You can’t have a day off. And, it is what it is. I will say, that I do believe challenges and hardships and obstacles, they get presented to you that you overcome make you stronger, build character, make you a better man, and by fact a better athlete.”Former undisputed middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker has spoken publicly for the first time since suffering his second round TKO loss to newly-minted number one contender, Dricus du Plessis at UFC 290 over the course of last weekend, admitting that he did not “show up to fight”.
Whittaker, who has since slumped to number three in the official middleweight rankings, featured on the main card of UFC 290 over the course of last weekend, taking on South African finisher, du Plessis in an officially billed title-eliminator at the middleweight limit.Prior to his second title outing against Adesanya back in February of last year, Whittaker had turned in consecutive victories over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum – landing a trio of judging triumphs over the lot.