Robert Whittaker sends a message to Khamzat Chimaev

Robert Whittaker believes a win over Khamzat Chimaev clears a straight path to the middleweight title.

Currently ranked at #3 in the world, the former UFC Middleweight Champion finds himself fighting down the ladder again after getting past Paulo Costa at UFC 298. Whittaker’s next fight comes against the undefeated Chimaev in the main event of UFC Saudi Arabia, the promotion’s first-ever card in the United Arab Emirates.

‘It’s Perfect For Me’

It may not have been the homecoming Whittaker had wanted, with UFC 295 taking place in his home country of Australia in August, but the Aussie is content with the opportunity that presented itself on June 22 in the form of a dangerous challenge.

“It’s perfect for me, too, to be able to get another one in,” Whittaker said on ‘Mighty Cast’. “Then, you put the fact that it’s against Chimaev who, you know, he’s got a lot of hype and stuff, it’s gonna bring a lot of eyes.

“He is the boogeyman in the division at the moment. Nobody wants to fight him. No one wants to have a go with him. So, I get to have that run at him, which will be fun. I think that they’re the fights that excitement because they’re the tests. They’re the type of fights I get a lot of honor and pride out of.”

Robert Whittaker assessed Khamzat Chimaev's chances of success in the middleweight division

Robert Whittaker On The Clash Of Styles & The Implication Of A Win

One of Chimaev’s greatest weapons lies in the grappling department (and he’s no slouch on the feet either). The takedowns and submissions of ‘Borz’ have been a problem for almost every opponent he’s faced thus far in his career. Fortunately for Whittaker, the former champ boasts incredible takedown defense at a rate of 83% of attempts denied inside the Octagon. 

Whatever challenge he’s in for, ‘The Reaper’ is ready to reap the rewards that come with a win over the relentless Chimaev.

“I’d like to think that I’m gonna go in there with a speed advantage and a striking advantage. I’m going in there thinking that his, I think one of his greatest strengths is the fact that he can force the wrestling on people. I think it’s going to be a little harder to force the wrestling on me, just ’cause of my distance, because of my control of spacing. I’m really looking forward to this fight. I think it’s gonna be a hard fight. I’m gonna take that same mentality into this fight and look to take him to war and just, just earn this win.

I’m gonna earn this win and this puts me in perfect direction for a title shot and condition for a title shot, which has always been the goal.”

Robert Whittaker Wants To Know ‘How Big The Hype Is’

Robert Whittaker made the first comment about announcing the fight with Khamzat Chimaev

There hasn’t been many fighter that have amounted to the hype that Khamzat Chimaev has now. ‘Borz’ stands a perfect 13-0 record, with seven-straight wins coming under the UFC banner over the likes of Kamaru Usman, Kevin Holland and Gilbert Burns.

Is Khamzat Chimaev the real deal? So far yes, but Robert Whittaker will look to put that very question to the test at UFC Saudi Arabia.

“I think impress is the wrong word,” Whittaker said of Chimaev. “I think he’s a good fighter and I think he’s got a head good, great head space for the craft. He knows what he does well and he goes out there with undoubted confidence in what he can do. That makes a very dangerous recipe. But also it’s something that like if it gets shaken, then you, you don’t know which way— the cards are gonna fall sort of thing. So, I’m looking forward to testing that, to see how big the hype is.”

Watch Robert Whittaker’s full interview with fellow ex-UFC Champion Demetrious Johnson below:

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