The former champion admits that he doesn’t like the new champion, but Whittaker does say that Adesanya is a good fighter.
“Did I expect him to finish him in that fashion? No, I did not,” Whittaker told Brett Okamoto of ESPN (via Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock). “But everything leading up to the finish I saw as a possibility. He looked good in that fight man, gotta give it to him. I don’t like the guy [laughs] but he’s bloody good. I think Izzy really controlled him. A lot of people are gonna say Paulo Costa didn’t do much, and maybe he didn’t, but Izzy controlled that fight very, very well. It’s very hard for people to speak on Costa, why he didn’t do what he did because he was in there. It’s hard to move forward against a counter striker like that, especially when he’s making you pay every time you go in. Izzy just controlled that fight. Hats off to Izzy, good fight.”
Adesanya has since gone on to successfully defending the title against Paulo Costa at UFC 253, while Whittaker looks for his second straight win since losing at UFC 243 when he faces Jared Cannonier at UFC 254. Whittaker believes there is a way to defeat the undefeated Adesanya and that is to attack him with counter strikes.
“You gotta wait for him to come forward,” Whittaker said. “You got to play his game, you can’t move in on him. His counter striking is honestly, it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. You have to take that into consideration when preparing for him.”