Robert Whittaker will be headlining his first UFC event this weekend as he takes on Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night 101.
While Whittaker does have a home country advantage with the event being held in Australia, he knows that his opponent is one tough competitor.
“He’s definitely an athlete,” said Whittaker to Bloody Elbow. “He’s got a skill-set that demands respect. He got into the top-ten in pretty good fashion. I think I’ve got to be wary of his power. I’ve definitely got to be on my game and be on the ball to make sure that I dictate the pace and I dictate where the fight goes. If you play by your opponent’s rules and you enter their game and their realm, it’s always gonna be a hard fight. Whether, I think Brunson’s my hardest fight yet... it is going to be a hard fight, but as I said before, every fight’s hard.”
Whittaker believes in the power of his striking game, which he believes will help turn Brunson into a wrestler.
“I think my striking is faster [than Brunson’s] and I think he underestimates my power a bit,” said Whittaker. “My striking and my timing are huge advantages, I’ve got them both down pat. That’s what I’m good at and I know I’m good at. So it’s gonna be interesting to see what happens. I think... I don’t think; I know my striking is going to make him wrestle.”
A title shot could be looming for the winner of this encounter, as both fighters are currently ranked in the top ten of the UFC Middleweight Division.
“Me and Brunson have to have title shot potential,” continued Whittaker. “I think we’re going to put on a show, to show who wants it more. This fight, I think we’re going to put on an absolute war. He’s on a hot streak and he’s gonna come out full confidence and try and knock my block off and I’m not gonna let him. I’m gonna disrupt his plans a little bit, and put him away.”
UFC Fight Night 101 takes place on Saturday, November 26 from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia with Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson headlining.