Israel Adesanya’s Coach Clarifies That Robert Whittaker is Next in Line to Face ‘The Last Stylebender’

Published 06/02/2021, 9:03 AM EDT


City Kickboxing’s coach Eugene Bareman spoke out on the Submission Radio podcast ahead of UFC 263 where Israel Adesanya will defend his strap. ‘The Last Stylebender’ takes on Marvin Vettori in a rematch that’s about three years in the making. Chiefly, former champion Robert Whittaker was supposed to be Adesanya’s opponent at UFC 263. However, he couldn’t make the turnaround.

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Israel Adesanya and Bareman recently came out in an interview and said that Robert Whittaker didn’t deserve the next shot. These statements came after Whittaker was the clear number one contender and had three signature wins against top-ranked opponents. Whittaker being dismissed from the title picture didn’t sit well with his fans, sparking a huge debate online.

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Eugene Bareman comes clean

Adesanya’s long-time head coach dropped a surprising revelation when he explained that dismissing Whittaker was part of a prank. Eugene Bareman clarified that Robert Whittaker was indeed next after Israel Adesanya faced Marvin Vettori at UFC 263. What’s more, Bareman explained that the prank was in jest and was concocted so as to send a message to people who take the internet too seriously.

“Let me clarify. Robert deserves the next shot. He’s found his way back, deserves his best shot. We never expected him to take the damn fight, let me have some fun with Robert Whittaker fans…. look this is a lesson for my fighters and all the fighters coming up through the ages. Do not give the internet any credence at all. The internet is full of people who don’t know what they’re talking about”

My advice to all these young fighters is don’t listen to the internet, don’t listen to all these comments. Not just young fighters, experienced fighters as well. It’s Robert [over Darren Till]. I’m not trolling anymore. Let’s let logical thinking and calm minds, let’s let them come back into the internet world. Let’s be real. Sorry Robert, that was not anything personally aimed at Robert, that was just me, you know boys having some fun.”

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 17: (L-R) Robert Whittaker of Australia kicks Kelvin Gastelum in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Eugene Bareman’s recent statements finally put to rest the doubt that was created around Whittaker’s place in the division. Several narratives of ‘Izzy’ possibly ducking Whittaker can now be put to rest. ‘The Reaper’ has done more than enough to earn his spot and is staring down the barrel of a title shot with a win.

Watch this story: UFC Champions Who Never Successfully Defended Their Belts

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Darryl Pinto

1655 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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