UFC middleweight champion Adesanya (19-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) took the title from Whittaker last October when he knocked out “The Reaper” in the second round of their title fight at UFC 243 last October.
Whittaker was scheduled to return at UFC 248 in March vs. Jared Cannonier, but pulled out due to undisclosed reasons. But in a recent interview, Whittaker broke his silence to reveal that he was suffering from burnout following his personal and professional schedule.
Having read his middleweight rival’s comments, Adesanya said he’s happy that the Australian has taken the time off to realize the important things in life.
“Rob, recently I read an article about him on the sand dunes and he had this epiphany where he was just like, ‘Huh what am I?’ and I kinda liked that for him,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie. “I’m happy for him that he realized that before it was too late because there’s more important things in this world than fighting. He’s got a family, he’s got friends and other things that are more important. Definitely, fighting is really important, but I’m happy that he made that realization that this (expletive) ain’t everything.
“All this (expletive) is gonna end one day and then what are you gonna be left with? Are you gonna be set up for life, or are you gonna be set up for life and have nothing in your personal life? You have to balance it, so I’m glad he’s starting to find that balance now.”
Since defeating Whittaker, Adesanya notched his first title defense, when he outpointed Yoel Romero at UFC 248. He is projected to face top contender Paulo Costa next.