Robert Whittaker stunned by 'absolute giant' Alex Pereira, thinks the new champ is better than Israel Adesanya
Robert Whittaker anticipates a significant size disparity between himself and Alex Pereira if they face each other in the near future.
The Brazilian kickboxing sensation won the UFC gold belt this past weekend at UFC 281. It was only his fourth time competing inside the octagon. Pereira finished off his opponent, Israel Adesanya, with a flurry of punches against the cage in the fifth and final round of their main event fight. This victory gave Pereira his third consecutive victory over Adesanya in the world of combat sports.
Whittaker, a former welterweight who was watching the fight more closely than most others as the former champion and top contender, could not help but notice how much larger Pereira was in comparison to their middleweight opponent as he watched the fight. In the days leading up to the fight, Pereira reported reaching his heaviest weight of 232 pounds in preparation for his major championship bout.
When it came down to the wire, he had no problem getting down to 185 pounds when it counted the most.
During the press conference that was held to announce the sale of tickets for UFC 284, Whittaker stated, "As I mentioned before, I'm not planning past [Paulo] Costa, but I can say that I think Pereira's a better matchup for me than Israel." "Simply due to the manner in which he stands and the manner in which he prefers to advance.
My opinion is that the manner he fights offers me an advantage, but before you say that, let me ask you this: have you seen the size of the guy? (Laughter) I don't understand why no one is talking about that. Dude's just enormous. He is an enormously tall man.
"I've had firsthand experience with Israel, and it took me by surprise to discover that the country is quite large. He has the appearance of being tall and lanky, but in reality he is a huge guy. Then you see Pereira side by side with him, and you notice that not just his face characteristics but also his feet, hands, and forearms are significantly larger. I'm just wondering who let this person in, but even so, I think I can handle him. (Laughter.)
After Whittaker's previous two defeats at the hands of Adesanya in recent years, he entered this year in a state of limbo, not knowing when, if ever, he would be able to make another run at a title. The possibility has reappeared for him now that the championship has been won by someone else, but it's possible that he'll have to hold off until he sees how a hypothetical rematch between the two competitors goes first.
Before Whittaker can even think about doing that, though, he will have to get back on a winning streak by prevailing over the aforementioned Costa at UFC 284, which will take place on February 11 in Perth, Australia.
"I understood that if I waited until November to wait to see who would come out on top that if I waited until November to see who would come out on top that I could possibly wait out [for] a title shot," said Whittaker.
"The problem with doing that is that I've done it before... I usually end up doing nothing but sitting on the bench for a very long time. I can't take it anymore (laughs). I can't take this any longer. I just want to get in there and fight, that's all I want to do. The fact that it is in Perth makes it an even more attractive option. It's an Australian card, and I can get there in two hops and a skip from my house. Therefore, I'm looking forward to going in there and putting on a good performance."
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