Robert Whittaker responds to Khamzat Chimaev’s callout: ‘That’ll be a showstopper, for sure’
Robert Whittaker would fight Khamzat Chimaev if the UFC offered it.
Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) respectfully called out Whittaker (24-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) and the former middleweight champion is game.
Chimaev is unbeaten in the UFC, but Whittaker thinks he’d present an equally tough challenge to him.
“Oh yeah, cool – let’s do it,” Whittaker told Submission Radio. “Whatever. If it’s a fight that gets presented to me, then it is what it is. Yeah, I think it’d be a good fight. I think he’d be a hard fight. I think he’s a phenomenal fighter. I think he has a lot of strengths.
“I think I have a lot of strengths. I think I’m a hard fighter for him, just the same – and I’m quite good with my hands, can stuff a lot of takedowns. I’m hard to hold down. I’m squirmy, you see. Yeah, it’ll be an interesting fight. That’ll be a showstopper, for sure. I’m sure it’ll get a lot of people interested and excited.”
Considering that is a top contender at welterweight, Whittaker isn’t sure if the fight necessarily makes sense for him, but acknowledges it would create a lot of buzz.
“The reason why it would be a fight that’s worth making is because he’s riding the hype train, and because UFC want to bring this guy, who’s the boogeyman to a lot of guys, up in the rankings,” Whittaker said. “They want him to fight me at the top of the chain, so that it opens the door to whoever wins, and then jump behind. That’s the only reason it makes sense.”
The promotion opted to book a rematch between middleweight champion Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya in the UFC 287 headliner, which has left Whittaker in a quandary. Whittaker has beaten plenty of top contenders, such as Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori, and agreed to face Paulo Costa atUFC 284 on Saturday before the bout was scrapped. He’s hoping to fight in April, but less than two months out, he’s gotten no word on an opponent.
“It’s hard, because the rematch with Izzy and Periera – it ties me up,” Whittaker said. “I’m in a tricky position where I’ve beaten a lot of guys in the top 10 and I’m kind of just waiting. I want to fight Pereira or Adesanya. That’s kind of who I’m lurking for, lurking around the edges for. But I wouldn’t like to wait a whole year to get my shot at (the winner). So I don’t know – tricky position.”
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