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Tidigare UFC-mästaren: Förlusten vid UFC 290 var karriärens sämsta insats

Av

Ralph Nordahl

21/07/2023
Robert Whittaker grå hoddie på UFC-presskoferens

Robert Whittaker är minst sagt revanschsugen efter att blivit grundligt besegrad tidigare i månaden av Dricus du Plessis.

Robert Whittaker redo att studsa tillbaka efter förlusten

Det gick inte riktigt som planerat för den tidigare mästaren Robert Whittaker vid UFC 290. Trots att han var framgångsrik i början av matchen så kan inte australiensaren vara mer besviken över hur matchen mot Dricus du Plessis slutade.

Den på uppåtgående sydafrikanen mäktade med en skrällseger via en TKO i andra ronden. Whittaker missade där sin chans till ett tredje försök mot mästaren Israel Adesanya. Den 32-årige Whittaker jämförde sina tidigare UFC-förluster mot den senaste och kan då inte låta bli att se du Plessis brister som fighter som en motivation att studsa tillbaka.

Whittaker sade följande The MMArcade Podcast:

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. It helped me align a few of my goals, like goals of titles and winning and beating ‘Izzy’ and now Dricus. I want to finish my career never losing again. I want to finish my career undefeated from this point.

And I do believe that this is the wake-up call that I needed to really free myself in a sense, to address a lot of the things that I’ve gotten away with that I didn’t last fight, that would have caught up with me, that did catch up with me in the last fight, that would have eventually anyway. And it’s a lot of things that I’ve gotten away with throughout my career just because of my speed, athletic ability, instincts, eyes, all that sort of jazz.

Mate, spending 10 months, 11 months between fights, putting all that work in, and then to get to center stage and not do any of it was really, really disappointing for me.

Really, really disappointing for me. Because you see, like, in that second fight with ‘Izzy,’ I lost, but at least I did what I trained for. So, this fight, I did nothing and I just let down my coaches. And I know they don’t feel that way, but I do. I let down my coaches, I let down my fans, and friends. But I don’t know, this feeling, I am using this feeling as energy, I am using this feeling as a drive, because I don’t want to feel like this again, mate.

Stod för en av hans sämsta insatser i karriären

Att förlora har inte varit en allt för vanlig företeelse under de senaste åren för Whittaker då han innan detta bara förlorat två gånger sedan 2014. I UFC:s mellanvikt har han endast besegrats av Adesanya och du Plessis. Förluster har dock visat sig vara riktigt effektiva för att få Whittaker att därefter stå för imponerande segrar och han hoppa mäkta med detsamma innan nästa år:

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.

That’s the hardest part about the loss is just that I know I can do better. I beat myself, in a funny sense. It’s not performing. And a lot of the other athletes and a lot of the other fighters will tell you about it, and they’ll talk to you about it and they’ll say, when we’re asked a question, ‘Are you scared?’ No, no, it’s never fear of my opponent or fear of getting beaten up or fear of getting hurt. It’s fear of failing to perform. It’s fear of going out there and not doing what you trained for the last four months, four hours a day in the gym, seven days a week — and then to go in there and do none of it.

And that’s kind of where I’m sitting in this room, what I’m upset about, because I put months and months and months of work into the fight and working things with my different coaches, with my boxing coach, jiu-jitsu, grappling, wrestling coach — and I went out there and I did absolutely none of it. Like, absolutely none of it. The work just went out the window.

Besviken över att inte visat upp några förbättringar

Whittaker brukar vanligtvis visa upp en solid brottning men han fick det något svårt på marken i den första ronden mot Du Plessis. Denne lyckades vända på ronden med ground-and-pound och avslutade sedan Whittaker i rond 2 efter att sänkt denne med en jabb.

That’s the most upsetting part, because not only did I lose — losing is one part — but I didn’t do anything I worked on, and that’s just disappointing because I’ve only got myself to blame on that. And this isn’t taking anything away from Dricus, because Dricus, he trained, he showed up ready to fight, and he fought, he turned up. And that’s half of the fight, isn’t it? And I didn’t. I didn’t. It’s a funny job to not turn up in, mate. Let me tell you.

Det återstår att se om Whittaker kan komma tillbaka starkare än någonsin.

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