In their first fight at UFC 243 in October 2019, Adesanya stopped Whittaker in the second round. On Saturday, the fight went the distance and was extremely close. The judges scored the fight for Adesanya by unanimous decision with two judges scoring the bout 48-47, and one judge scoring the fight 49-46.
Despite the judges’ scoring, Whittaker felt that he did enough to recapture the 185-pound championship.
“I thought I did enough,” Whittaker said during the UFC 271 Post-fight Press Conference. “Breaking it down, I think I lost that first round, and I put myself back together. I think I beat him to every punch. I got takedowns. I thought I did enough, but it is what it is.”
“I thought he looked very beatable. I thought I beat him. I thought I did enough. I got inside his reach. I beat him to every punch, beat him every time. He didn’t land anything that really hurt me but that one shot in the first (round).”
Whittaker said that he has nothing but respect for Adesanya’s skillset and that he’s not trying to take anything away from Adesanya’s win.
“I’m not taking anything away from him. He won. Literally, he won. He’s got the belt. That’s how it works. The judges gave it to him. That’s the business,” Whittaker said. “I have nothing but respect for his skillset.”
Whittaker has been in this exact situation before. He put together three consecutive wins to secure the championship rematch against Adesanya, and believes a trilogy fight with “The Last Stylebender” is inevitable.
“A third fight between me and Izzy is inevitable. It’s inevitable because I’m going to stomp anybody who comes in front of me again. And he knows that too. That’s why he said, ‘I’ll be seeing you in the future.’ And I don’t see him losing the belt anytime soon,” Whittaker said.
“I think I’m the person to beat him. My mission stays the same. Beat the next guy in front of me.”