In a startling twist at the recent UFC 290 event, Robert Whittaker was defeated by Dricus Du Plessis. Leading up to the fight, many analysts had backed Whittaker as the superior fighter, pointing to his skills in various aspects of the sport.
Expectations were high for Whittaker's confirmation of these predictions in the UFC cage. The match started promisingly for Whittaker, but the tables quickly turned in the second half of the first round. Du Plessis skillfully executed a takedown, landing a series of powerful shots from the top position as the round drew to a close.
The shift in momentum seemed to leave Whittaker slightly shaken, enabling Du Plessis to enter the second round with a surge of confidence.
A Technical Knockout and Its Aftermath
In the second round, Du Plessis dealt the knockout blow, stopping Whittaker with a technical knockout.
Apart from Israel Adesanya, Du Plessis is the only other fighter to have defeated Whittaker in the middleweight division. This triumph likely secured Du Plessis a shot at the title, leaving Whittaker facing the uphill task of reclaiming his path to a title bout.
Addressing his unexpected loss on The MMArcade Podcast, Whittaker acknowledged the disappointing turn of events: “I went out there with the intention of putting my best foot forward and giving the best performance of my career, and ended up giving the worst performance of my career”.
Reflecting on his failure to meet his own expectations, Whittaker confessed that his fear was not of his opponent, but of failing to perform. Despite the rigorous training, he had put in, the fight didn't unfold as he had envisioned.
But he didn't wallow in defeat for long, finding a silver lining in the loss. “It is what it is. I do believe that this was the kick in the ass I needed to really take me to the next level,” Whittaker said. “It helped me align a few of my goals, like titles of winning and beating Izzy and now Dricus."
The fighter, unrecognizable in the match against Du Plessis, is only 32 years old.
Whittaker has proven his resilience by bouncing back from defeats in the past and remains confident that he can do it again. The experience seems to have lit a fire within him, leading him to assert: "I want to finish my career never losing again.
I want to finish my career undefeated from this point."
Robert Whittaker reflects on his loss against Dricus Du Plessis
Robert Whittaker believes Valentina Shevchenko beat Alexa Grasso
Robert Whittaker Backs Strickland as a Threat to Adesanya
Sean Strickland not happy with Robert Whittaker’s performance
Robert Whittaker: Du Plessis doesn’t want the easy road.You’ve got to respect that
Robert Whittaker Pushes for Rematch with Adesanya: 'I'll Never Stop Coming for Him'