UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was raring to go against Robert Whittaker in a rematch slated for Saturday at the UFC 271 in Houston, Texas.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Adesanya acknowledged Whittaker's improvement since he beat him in UFC 243 back in 2019.
"He's young, he's actually younger than me. I know I look fresh, but he's younger than me. So he's made a lot of improvements in his game. But you guys have to understand from tough nationals to being the UFC middleweight champion, this guy did a lot of work and he ran through everyone till he ran into me and then I stopped that shit. But the last three fights, he has done what he's always done. "
"He's improved, but he's always been a beast," Adesanya said. "But I'm a different beast with the same animal. "
Adesanya (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) and Whittaker (23-5 MMA, 14-3 UFC) enter the rematch at the Toyota Center in Houston with something to prove in what’s arguably the most competitive title-fight pairing that can be made on paper at 185 pounds.
The same distinction was made when they met for the first time at UFC 243 in October 2019, but reality played out much differently, as it was an entirely one-sided affair.
The co-main event is a heavyweight showdown between Derrick Lewis and contender Tai Tuivasa.
Lewis holds the record for most knockout wins in UFC history with 13.