Robert Whittaker eager for UFC rematch vs. Dricus Du Plessis, cites improvement: ‘I want to run it back’

Robert Whittaker wants to challenge himself once again, and he thinks he’s earned the opportunity to do so.

In his UFC on ABC 6 victory Saturday in Saudi Arabia, Whittaker (26-7 MMA, 17-5 UFC) starched Ikram Aliskerov (15-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) with a TKO stoppage at the 1:49 mark of Round 1.

“You hope for the best and prepare for the worst, right?” Whittaker told reporters after the event. “I was preparing for an absolute 25-minute slugfest. I was preparing for war – a dogfight. I told you before, I have the mentality of being the hunter. I’m going to go in there and I’m going to stalk my prey. I want to be the predator. I feel like I accomplished that.”

Over the course of his past 18 fights, Whittaker’s only losses have come to two men: Dricus Du Plessis and twice to Israel Adesanya. Despite his losses, Whittaker has continued to conquer all other tasks.

After he called to be the UFC 305 backup for the Du Plessis (21-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) vs. Adesanya (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) title fight Aug. 17 in Perth, Australia, promotion CEO Dana White approved. Whittaker explained why he thinks a second crack at the titleholder would go differently than the first.

“I’d like to think that (a rematch would go differently),” Whittaker said. “Look at the paperwork. Since that fight, I’ve only improved. I’ve only gotten better. I’m not saying that if I was on, I would’ve beaten him. I’m not going to take that away from him. He turned up on the night and beat me fair and square and now he’s the world champion because of it. He’s a good fighter. He’s good at what he does. But I know I can do better. Will I beat him? Maybe he gets his hand raised again, but I know I can do better and I know I didn’t put my best foot forward in that fight and I want to run it back because of that.”

As for Adesanya, Whittaker says he’s still on “that list.” But at this point, the title is on his mind. Whittaker wants to prove he’s the best in the world.

“Adesanya is still on that list, mate,” Whittaker said. “But I honestly feel like my goal in martial arts, in mixed martial arts, in combat sports, is to live up to my own potential. That’s the only thing I want to achieve. I know how good I am. I’m the most dangerous middleweight on the planet. Everyone knows that. But I have big shoes to fill. That’s the only thing I ask for, every time I fight, every time I step in that octagon, is just to allow me to do live up to my own potential. Tonight, I feel like I did that.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ABC 6.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie