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Robert Whittaker On What’s Next For Him

Robert Whittaker, fresh off a convincing win over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC on FOX 24, talked with Submission Radio recently about his future.

Whittaker discussed the win over Souza, a rumored bout with Luke Rockhold and what’s next for the former Ultimate Fighter winner:

On staying calm when Jacare was grappling with him

“Yeah, I just had to do what I trained. I made sure I stayed calm, I made sure that I was doing what I needed to do and it was very hard for me. I wasn’t even thinking really, it was all muscle memory. I had months of training before that in bad situations, in good situations and it’s all muscle memory at that stage.”

On being able to keep his mind clear in the octagon and not having pressure or tough positions affect his decision-making process

“Without a doubt, I think I was born to fight and I think that I have certain instincts that are only in people who were born to fight. But I train a lot, man. I train day in and day out with my coaches and we train religiously over staying calm, game plans, formulas. And if you train enough, anything will come second nature.”

Rob describes what went through his head when the ref waved him off and he beat Jacare in Kansas City

“Yeah, you know, it’s a funny feeling when you put months and months and weeks of work in and get the result you’re after. It really is. So to be able to get that and get the finish and get the win, I was over the moon. I’m still kind of reeling over it at the moment.”

On being a bit more relaxed when he reacted to his win than when he usually celebrates in Australia

“Well yeah, I did. I put in all the work and I really did work hard for this fight, man, and I think my performance showed that I put in the work. But I can’t discount when the Australian crowd gets behind me, I just go a bit nuts. I’m not ruling that out at all.”

On looking back to when he initially moved up to middleweight against Clint Hester with back to back losses in welterweight to now being a title contender

“Yeah I was in a bad way after getting my back to back losses in welterweight and I needed to really re-establish who I was as a fighter and as a person. But I did those things, I made the right calls, I surrounded myself with people that cared about me and I knew I was always gonna have to move to middleweight, and you know, just doing the right things has lead me to where I am.”

On beating Jacare in a more impressive fashion than both Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero

“I want that belt. I’m going for that belt. This is my run and I’m gonna tear through anyone that gets in the way.”

Where Rob stands on the Luke Rockhold fight

“The only thing I wanna do right now, is I wanna go home and see my boys. I’m not even thinking about fighting right now. I literally just finished fighting. Fighting isn’t everything to me. I wanna go see my family, I wanna go spend time with my kids and then I’ll sit down and I’ll sit with my coaches and we’ll make the next plan. I don’t plan too much at the moment, I just finished the fight. I gotta go see my family first.”

If Rob is focused on getting the once promised fight with Bisping or if he doesn’t mind who he fights as long as it’s for the title

“Yeah, well the thing is, I’m hunting for the belt more than anything. He’s holding the belt at the moment and he owes me a fight. That works in my favour. And if that’s how I get a crack at the belt, you know, that’s what I want. But I’m hunting that belt, let’s not be confused.”

How Rob feels about the middleweight title being tied up and the top of the division having to wait around

“I haven’t given it much thought. I don’t really think about the machinations of the UFC or their plans or plots to move the belt around or the plans of the athletes and what the athletes are planning for the belt and how they’re gonna move it around. I’m doing my thing, I’m on my journey and eventually the belt will fall in my lap. Trust me.”

If Rob would be ready to fight Luke Rockhold at international fight week

“Where I’m at right now, I’m ready to fight absolutely anyone. But like I said, I haven’t given it a thought. Someone else had to tell me that he actually asked for it. I’ve got no idea what’s going on. I just want to see my family first.”

Dana White’s reaction to his win

“He’s a nice guy. He came up to me and congratulated me and said, “awesome fight”. I’ve put the division on notice and I look forward to things in the future.”

If Rob would have enough time to prepare for Rockhold if they fought on July 8th at UFC 213
“Where I’m at right now, I’m ready to fight absolutely anyone.”

What would go into his decision on who he fight’s next

“My decision’s made. I want that belt. So all my intentions are leading me towards that singular goal.”

On being modest and a role model for young Australian’s and New Zealanders

“I’m just being me, really. I think you’ve got to be respectful of your opponent, you have to show respect. I mean, respect is key to competition and being humble, you know (laughs). I go through the front door like everyone else, I wait in line for my order like everyone else. I’m no one special, I’m just good at a particular skillset that thankfully people can appreciate. Yeah, as for being a role model, I think you gotta lead by example. I think it’s hard to call yourself a role model if you’re smack talking every second person and you trying to put on a mask just to sell tickets. But at the end of the day, I’m just being me and I always strive to make Australia proud and New Zealand proud whenever I get in there and I put on a performance. And hopefully I’m doing that, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted with my career.

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Fight Cards

UFC Fight Night 122: Bisping vs. Gastelum

Event Date: November 25, 2017
Broadcast: TBD

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale

Event Date: December 1, 2017
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UFC 218: Holloway vs. Aldo 2

Event Date: December 2, 2017
Broadcast: TBD

Bellator 189: Carvalho vs. Sakara

Event Date: December 9, 2017
Broadcast: TBD

UFC Fight Night 123: Swanson vs. Ortega

Event Date: December 9, 2017
Broadcast: TBD

UFC on FOX 26: Lawler vs. dos Anjos

Event Date: December 16, 2017
Broadcast: Fox