Robert Whittaker Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya defeated Kelvin Gastelum this past weekend, setting up a showdown with Robert Whittaker. Adesanya and Gastelum were involved in a memorable back-and-forth encounter, with “The Last Style Bender” really pouring on the offense in the final round. With Adesanya becoming the interim champion, he will face “The Reaper” to unify both the titles.

Both the fighters know that they will face each other later this year. And while Whittaker initially gave Adesanya respect for the fight he had with Kelvin, things haven’t been as amicable since. Both men appeared on The Helwani Show, where Adesanya spoke about how Whittaker is two-faced, while Robert thinks he has camped inside Israel’s head.

“Put it this way, whenever I’ve seen him face to face he just shakes my hand and keeps it moving”, Adesanya said on the Helwani Show. “But then I’ll see him talk some shit. People will say, ‘Did you see what Rob said?’ or they’ll send me a link. And I’m like, ‘What? Ugh’. Because I’ve never said anything bad about the guy.

“There was one where he said, ‘That Israel fella, he’s not as good as he thinks he is’. They’re hoping — because he even picked Kelvin against me, he thinks Kelvin was going to beat me because he had the well-rounded tools. He’s just one of those guys who doesn’t want to fight me so he’s hoping for the easier fight with Kelvin. Hey, Robert’s in for a rude awakening.”

Whittaker however said he was flattered by the fact that the interim champ cannot seem to stop talking about him.

“I got to say, I don’t understand why this guy is getting such a rise out of what I said?” Whittaker said. “The only critical thing I’ve ever said about him was that I don’t think this he’s as good as he thinks he is. You can take that how you want, but it makes it sound I’m talking behind his back all the time. You know? That’s just how I feel. Sorry it’s going to get you so upset. He just needs to relax. He had a great win over the weekend, and it seems like every time someone asks him a question or puts the spotlight on him for two seconds, he can’t help but mention my name. It’s a little concerning to be honest.

“Because I’m the only thing in his head. Surely he can be using his spotlight for other purposes? For instance, he’s calling me a fake New Zealander, an Australian? Wow. They’re pretty heavy comments. He could be using his spotlight to further other purposes. Like myself, when the spotlight is put on me, I get to plug my educational programs. I’m bringing educational programs to New Zealand next year, a lot of people don’t know that, but that’s what I’m working on with my time. I guess the only thing Israel can talk about is me. I’m flattered to be honest.”

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