Robert Whitaker was himself and always was, unapologetically he was.
The UFC middleweight champion is set in his ways – single-handedly focused on becoming the best mixed martial artist he can be, why he still doesn’t believe that is true.
There is never anything extra with Whitaker. No rubbish. There will be no drama.
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He knows he can probably earn more titles and more money when he gets there. She also knows that there are more important things like being a role model to her kids.
So less than two months into his blockbuster consolidation battle with interim champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Whitaker has only one inspiration.
Get up and work in the octagon.
This will be the third scheduled title defense on Whitaker’s home ground. In both UFC 221 and UFC 234, he was forced to pull under the circumstances of Frico. This is frustrating for everyone involved, but no one older than the 28-year-old has taken it harder.
“I felt worse than anyone else,” Whitaker told FoxSports.com. “I was the one who felt the most, because I felt like I wasn’t fighting, I wasn’t doing my job.”
“I was there a few weeks ago. Lots of people came out to fight, to monitor, to get support, and I couldn’t do it. I am the worst. ”
And UFC 243 gave Whitaker an opportunity to bring the Melbourne crowd back in February that the place didn’t matter to him: “I didn’t consider whether Sydney’s carpark was in Vegas; I just want to get there and work
“So I owe it to the Melbourne crowd for a show, and they’re about to get a show in October, and it’s going to be even bigger, and I’m pumped for that.”
Interviewing with Whitaker numerous times over the past few years, his message – and perhaps more importantly, the application of that message – was relentless: nothing could move him or do anything.
She does not pay attention to garbage or add to it. He simply does his job and believes it should be enough. If he’s at the top – and he’s been in a nine-fight winning streak in the UFC – that’s enough.
“They say things that I’m not worried about that I should be concerned about,” Hittaker said.
“And … you shouldn’t worry more about me than I do. It should not play more than it plays on me.
“Another great thing is that there is a huge wide world here besides fighting. I do a lot of other things when I’m not in the octagon or mats. I get a lot of other things in the work I’m doing, which I enjoy doing. I don’t spend all day on my phone worrying about what people are talking about. It will drive you crazy ””
This is an important distinction that sets Whitaker apart from many other warriors in the organization, who are unwilling or unable to think outside the cage.
Hittaker explained, “I have a great circle of boys working outside of the fight scene. I have multiple businesses that I run at the same time.”
It’s simple, the truth: “I’m really looking forward to my prime years now. I don’t want to be [like] the boys who fight in their late 30s. I don’t want to be that boy.
“I’m going to capitalize my prime years now, make the most of what I can. Run yourself honestly through the ring and really hit it hard. And when it does, it happens and I move on to another endeavor.
Whitaker added: “I’ve set a deadline on myself. I don’t want to fight before 34 or 35. I just want to keep things rolling regardless of how long I think. I’m not trying to fight in the past of 35, that’s just it. ”
“… I want kids to be able to help with their homework, like homework.”
These other efforts involve running his Gracie Jiu Jitsu gym, where his interest in getting his voice out is growing.
“We’re playing a podcast right now. You know, Grange TV – shout, “Whitaker joked.
“I am enjoying it. I think it has a lot of legs that will push me. Working on it is fun, it is growing at a steady rate. My idea is to really showcase my skills in the venue as it speaks to the public.
“I’m also doing a speech tour later this year after the fight, which I did. Again, on the avenue of talking to the public. So, I have a skillet there that I think if you are interested, people see the skill.
“… .I am not limited to just fighting, fortunately enough. I have other skills and talents and other opportunities that I see as capital right now, but especially after the battle scene is over.
But there is a world away from wrapping up that ‘fight scene’. And it is against a guy from Odense until October (EST) who has risen to the UFC rankings at a ridiculous rate.
A rate at which the Nigerian-born Kiwi is finally two octave in the past