Robert Whittaker Teases UFC Australia Return And Names Dream Opponent

He's coming home.

Robert Whittaker Teases UFC Australia Return And Names Dream Opponent

Image: The Australian

The Reaper wants his gold back and would love to win it again in front of his countrymen.

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is fresh off defeating Paulo Costa at UFC 298. The Reaper survived a vicious first round head kick from Costa and rallied to beat the Brazilian by unanimous decision to get back in the win column. 

Now Whittaker wants a shot at winning his old belt back and he says he would prefer challenging for the middleweight title or fighting the No.1 contender.

“I’m angling towards a goal… I wanna reclaim my belt. I would love to run it back with Dricus, especially cause he got the gold. But I do understand that Strickland is in line, like in the sights a little bit. Everyone’s talking about him a lot; he’s at the top, and that kind of gives me the path to the gold that I’m looking for.”

Robert Whittaker

But not only does Bobby Knuckles want either Dricus du Plessis or Sean Strickland, he wants to do so this coming August when the UFC is said to be planning to return to Australia, possibly in Perth.

“But less than the opponents is the date that I’m after, and I want to fight in August. I heard that the UFC is potentially coming back to Australia in August. I have heard maybe in Perth.”

Whittaker lost the UFC middleweight championship to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 in 2019. He worked his way back to the top of the rankings and challenged The Last Stylebender at UFC 271 two years ago but lost via unanimous decision. The Reaper has since won two out of his last three fights, with his lone loss during this stretch coming at the hands of du Plessis. 

After knocking out Whittaker at UFC 290, du Plessis went on to challenge Sean Strickland for the 185-pound belt at UFC 297 last January 20, 2024. He defeated Strickland via a narrow split decision to become champion. Although the UFC has not booked the new champion to a fight yet, many expect him to figure in an immediate rematch with Strickland. If not, No.2 ranked Israel Adesanya could be a possibility.

But in a perfect scenario, Whittaker hopes to get the first crack at Dricus or a title contender bout against Strickland. The UFC was last in Australia for UFC 293 on September 10, 2023. The event was held at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. Meanwhile, the last event held in Perth was UFC 284 at the RAC Arena last February 12, 2023.