Robert Whittaker has told Israel Adesanya to ‘rest up’ after the UFC middleweight champion called out The Reaper.
Adesanya is expected to defend his UFC middleweight title in a rematch against Whittaker after dealing with Marvin Vettori, UFC president Dana White said at the post-fight press conference on Sunday.
Speaking after the fight, The Last Stylebender indicated he would be open to running it back with Bobby Knuckles, but only on his terms.
“Well you know, the old mozzie, my arch-nemesis, that other c—, what’s his name?” Adesanya said in his post-fight interview. “Whittaker. Bobby Knuckles. I knocked him out twice.
“I don’t know what the f— is gonna happen with this whole COVID thing but we need to run that back in Auckland. We need to run that back in my territory this time.
“I’ll tell you when it is. You don’t get to decide, I get to decide – cause why? I’m the m———– king, b—-.”
Within five minutes, Whittaker responded on social media by posting a five-word tweet with the words: “Rest up, see you soon.”
Adesanya and Whittaker have previously met before, with the Nigerian-born New Zealander emerging victorious in the main event of UFC 243 back in 2019.
Since then, Whittaker has worked his way back into title contention by putting together a three-fight winning streak, which includes wins over Jared Cannonier, Kelvin Gastelum and Darren Till.
Adesanya, meanwhile, has won three of his last four UFC fights. The 31-year-old suffered the first loss of his professional career when he came up short against UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in his quest to become the seventh fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight divisions.
And now, the pair will run it back at a location and date to be determined, with White confirming plans are already in place for the two to meet again in October.
Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman originally seemed opposed to the idea, but it appears he has now changed his mind.
He said: “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.”
He added: “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.”