Israel Adesanya’s Next Opponent Decided- Dana White Provides an Update

Published 04/20/2021, 1:07 PM EDT
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 24: UFC President Dana White interacts with media during the UFC on FOX press conference on January 24, 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The UFC Middleweight division was on display in recent weeks when two middleweight fights headlined back-to-back Fight Nights.


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Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland headlined UFC Vegas 23, while Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum headlined UFC Vegas 24. UFC President Dana White opined that this was no coincidence before declaring Israel Adesanya’s next opponent.

Vettori won his fight against Kevin Holland after absolutely dominating the young fighter with his wrestling. On the other hand, Robert Whittaker put on an absolute clinic to overpower Gastelum in a fight for the ages. It was a fight fought on the feet, and Whittaker’s striking prevailed.


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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)

In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, White talked to Kevin Iole and expressed his thoughts on Robert Whittaker’s performance.

The kid is very talented, he’s looked incredible in his last couple of fights, and I look forward to seeing him get the shot at the title again,” White said.

At this point, Iole said that a good scenario would be to make a mini-tournament between the Top-4 contenders where Israel Adesanya fights Whittaker for the belt, and Vettori fights Paulo Costa. Costa had fought Adesanya for the belt, but he lost in the 2nd round via knockout.

In a perfect world, you’re absolutely right, but in this business, it’s all about timing. What do these guys have going on in their personal lives, and a laundry list of other b********,” he admitted.

Dana White believes Marvin Vettori can step in if Robert Whittaker isn’t ready for a title shot

Iole asked White about Whittaker’s comments after his win, the latter had stated that Vettori hadn’t fought the top guys yet.

White dismissed those statements, pointing at Vettori’s fight against The Last Stylebender himself. “When Adesanya was making his way up, Vettori was one of the guys. They fought to a split decision,” he said.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 10: (R-L) Marvin Vettori of Italy takes down Kevin Holland in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 10, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

White added that Vettori is a legit fighter, and if, for some reason, Whittaker is unable to take the title fight, then Vettori will get it.


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It should absolutely be Robert Whittaker, but if Robert Whittaker isn’t ready, Vettori is absolutely the next guy in line,” he concluded. It would be really interesting to see how all fighters respond to this.


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All said and done, Whittaker vs Adesanya is the fight to make. The fans would like to see how this new and improved version of Whittaker holds up against Adesanya.


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Do you think Robert Whittaker can beat Israel Adesanya?


Aniket Awasthi

327 articles

Aniket Awasthi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. This STEM undergraduate combines an insatiable urge to write with his admiration for MMA and the UFC in general to enhance his journalism. He calls charismatic names like Chael Sonnen and 'The Count' Michael Bisping as his favorite fighters, but he is a great admirer of the rise of Israel Adesanya ever since he fought Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.