Robert Whittaker won't get into trash talk with Israel Adesanya: 'I'm not a part of that little game'

Robert Whittaker doesn’t generally engage in pre-fight antics, and he doesn’t plan to start with Israel Adesanya.

Going back and forth at the UFC summer news conference earlier this month, Adesanya mentioned how he believes Whittaker’s attitude has changed ahead of their middleweight title unification bout Oct. 5 at UFC 243.

Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) disagrees, as he believes Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is the one that has done all the talking leading up to their fight. He has no problem with Adesanya building the fight up, just as long as he doesn’t drag him into it.

“The thing is, I haven’t done anything differently. I haven’t changed,” Whittaker told Submission Radio. “Yeah, he’s just gotten mouthy. I guess he had to to get the title shot, which he got due to his performances in the octagon and the way he sells his fights. Which is all props to him. I think that’s great the way he did it. And that’s kind of how he sells fights and how he does stuff. But that’s him, though. I’m not playing like that. We’re not cool. Like, you can sell the fight, and I’m happy for you to sell the fight. Actually, I encourage it. But I’m not a part of that little game. Like, we’re not cool.”

“We’re not cool. Like, I’ll be civil. Like, what am I, an animal? Like, I’ll be civil with him, but I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want to talk to him, and yeah, we’re not like, we’re not friends (laughs).”

The UFC summer news conference was the first time they faced off. Afterward, Adesanya said Whittaker looked like a “meth head”. Whittaker was all business, and he believes Adesanya knows it, regardless of what he says.

“He definitely saw it. He saw I’m not playing,” Whittaker said. “But he’s a smart guy. He’s a smart guy with a lot of experience. He already knew I’m not playing. He knew the stakes, and he knows how serious this fight is. He knows how hard I’m gonna come out regardless of what he says. That’s just how it is. You don’t get to where he is by underestimating everybody. He’s had a lot of experience. To be honest, there wasn’t a lot that I found out or what I saw, because I was ready for it all. I’m ready for this.”

Whittaker has gone through the trenches in the middleweight division, with wins over Jacare Souza and Yoel Romero twice. The usually soft spoken Aussie says he doesn’t need to try and get into his opponents’ heads, as he reiterates that this isn’t a game to him.

“Let me clear something up quickly: Just because I don’t talk trash, and I’m not mouthy, and I’m not mouthing off like I’m in the school yard, doesn’t mean I don’t take this for what it is,” Whittaker said. “I am doing everything in my power to break you, because we are going to go fight in an octagon. And I don’t play this. This isn’t a game to me. I treat this as if this would be my last fight ever, and I always have. And I don’t need to smack talk to get in that mind frame, I’m already there.

“Like, we’re gonna go fight to the death in so many months time, and I’m gonna give everything I have. I just don’t smack talk, though. But don’t misinterpret that for me not taking the fight seriously. You can see every one of my opponents when we have the first faceoff or when we come face to face after the fight’s been announced, they know. They know that, ‘OK, this guy isn’t playing.’ I’m not playing. Its not a game.”

For more on UFC 243, check out the UFC schedule.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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