Robert Whittaker is keen on squaring off with Kamaru Usman.
Whittaker, the former UFC middleweight champion, said he hopes Usman, the former welterweight champ, gives the 185-pound division another chance after losing to Khamzat Chimaev in a short-notice bout last weekend at UFC 294.
“Is he gonna stay at middleweight? I don’t know,” Whittaker said on his “MMArcade Podcast” earlier this week. “But that fight interests me. I like that fight. Yeah. I’d fight a middleweight Usman. … I don’t think it’s a bad fight to have.”
Whittaker said he’s glad Usman opted to jump up to middleweight – at least temporarily – because it adds a new potential contender to the division. Usman is one of the greatest welterweights in UFC history and had never competed at 185 pounds before Saturday. The 36-year-old dropped a majority decision to Chimaev but still impressed in defeat.
“What are you gonna do? Make Usman fight through ranks 30 to 20 to get to the top tier? (He’s a) consecutive defending welterweight champion. He definitely deserves to fight at the top of the charts of the middleweight division,” Whittaker said. “How well he’ll do, we will see. But seeing fresh blood at the top of the game, that’s interesting. I like it.”
He continued, “Hope (Usman) stays. Stick around. … It’s fun up here, mate.”
Whittaker will be looking to get back on track in his next Octagon appearance, as he’s coming off a TKO loss to Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290 in July. The 32-year-old is ranked No. 3 at middleweight.