For the first time in his career, Robert Whittaker will make that walk to the Octagon as a champion in the UFC.
Whittaker defends his middleweight title Saturday night in the main event of UFC 225 vs. Yoel Romero. The card takes place from the United Center in Chicago, airing live on pay-per-view.
“It feels good to be here,” Whittaker said. “I’m hear, I’ve adjusted and am just doing the work now.”
Whittaker last fought in 2017, scoring a decision vs. Romero to become the interim UFC champion. A few months later when Georges St-Pierre vacated the belt after a victory vs. Michael Bisping, officials declared Whittaker the unified champion.
However, as he was preparing to meet Luke Rockhold earlier this year, Whittaker was forced to the sidelines with a staph infection. Romero went on to best Rockhold that evening, setting up the rematch.
“The strategy is planned out,” Whittaker said. “I don’t think defending belts is going to bother me much. It’s just the essence of the fight. It isn’t going to make it any easier or harder.”
The New Zealand native is 19-4 overall in his career, including wins over Romero, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Derek Brunson.
“The fight’s the same, the treat level is the same,” he said. “(Romero) is going to do the best he can to beat me. From that first fight, I take a little confidence from myself that I can push myself through (adversity). If I sleep on him for even a second, it’s going to be done.”