While it may not be the most stacked division from head to toe, middleweight is full of world class talent – with Israel Adesanya being at the forefront of that.
Right behind him, though, is Robert Whittaker, the man who many believe should be a prominent member of the pound-for-pound rankings.
‘The Reaper’ has taken out literally everyone he’s ever fought in the weight class outside of Adesanya, with his second bout against ‘Stylebender’ ending in a close decision loss.
He bounced back in style in his most recent outing with a thoroughly impressive win over Marvin Vettori that reminded us all of just how good this man is.
The route back to another title shot is going to undoubtedly be difficult given that he’s 0-2 against the champ, but the fact that he keeps turning back every other available challenger means it shouldn’t be too long before Bobby Knuckles is fighting for the belt once again.
One man who has teased a permanent jump up to 185 pounds in the past is Khamzat Chimaev, one of the top stars at welterweight right now.
He’s had a few nice wins at middleweight since entering the UFC but hasn’t really taken on an established top 15 talent, and during a post-fight interview over the weekend, he noted that he likes Whittaker and would like to train with him one day.
Rob clearly heard what he had to say and responded pretty positively in an interview of his own.
Video: Robert Whittaker wants to train with Khamzat Chimaev
“I heard what Khamzat said about wanting to fight bad guys and I can get behind that,” Whittaker said. “If he wants to train together, I want to train together and we can go hunt bad guys together.
“I think it will be a lot of fun, and we can run a muck on a lot of people.”
“I’d like to see Chimaev fight Israel, just because, stylistically, there are so many different variables in play that it makes it interesting for me. Plus, I’ll be able to sic my new friend Chimaev on two guys that I want to beat up.”
Although Khamzat Chimaev was able to dominate and submit Kevin Holland at UFC 279, he did miss weight and lose his opportunity to battle Nate Diaz in the main event.
As such, you’d have to imagine he’ll have to grind pretty hard if he’s serious about trying to take the title, as Dana White has made it clear he would prefer to see ‘Borz’ move up.