Robert Whittaker was supposed to defend the UFC Middleweight Title against Kelvin Gastelum in the original main event, but was forced to withdrawal from the event due to a severe abdominal issue that required surgery. Adesanya, citing an often injured Whittaker, would like the UFC to strip him of the middleweight title.
“Honestly, you know when Dominick Cruz kept hurting himself and got surgery after surgery after surgery? The UFC stripped him, and this is another one of those,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie Radio. “This isn’t the first time this has happened or second time with Robert. This is ongoing. He’s hurt, he’s out for much longer and he’s hurt again, then has a fight and is out for this long. You can’t hold up the whole division. My idea is strip him, take the belt off him, and me and Kelvin fight for the real belt. Then when he’s all healed up and 100 percent, he can come see me and challenge for the belt.”
Whittaker hasn’t competed since UFC 225, where he defeated Yoel Romero by decision to retain the middleweight strap.
Adesanya believes that the UFC may simply create an interim title until Whittaker can return to action.
“I’m sure they’ll try to put an interim thing in there, but the interim thing is just like a little bandaid,” Adesanya said. “They throw it on anything. (Expletive) an interim belt. Guys are constantly not making it to work, so just strip him and he’ll be the No. 1 contender and eventually he can come see me. I’m fresh. … You’ll probably see me and Kelvin pretty soon.”
UFC President Dana White stated that Whittaker may need up to four weeks to recover from the surgery, but more should be known as the champion heals up.