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Morning Report: Following KO loss at UFC 243, Robert Whittaker looks to return to action in early 2020

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Robert Whittaker
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 243 over the weekend, Robert Whittaker lost his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya via second-round TKO. It was an unfortunate setback for the now former champion but it should come as no surprise to anyone the man affectionately dubbed “Bobby Knuckles” is handling his loss quite well. In fact, Whittaker plotting his return to the cage.

Speaking on a recent episode of his podcast GrangeTV, Whittaker addressed his loss to Adesanya and the reaction from fans.

“People may not know this, but I’ve lost before,” Whittaker said. “I’ve lost before and I’ve came back better and that’s exactly what I intend to do. I’m under no illusion that I was unbeatable; everybody can beat everybody on any given day. I’m just going to lick my wounds, I’m going to get back on the mats on Monday, and I’m going to start training again and try to beat the next guy.”

Whittaker has lost before, but it had been some time. Whittaker made his UFC debut in 2012 (in fact, coming off a loss) in the welterweight division. Following back-to-back losses to Court McGee and Stephen Thompson, he had one more welterweight bout before moving up to middleweight where he the rattled off eight wins in a row. His loss to Adesanya was Whittaker’s first as a middleweight and from the sound of things, he’s not trying to dwell on it for too long. The former champion says that, assuming his health allows, he’d like to return to the cage in early 2020.

“I’m gonna go make sure that I’m all good and then once I know that I’m sweet, I’m gonna get back into training, I’m gonna start working again and then I’m gonna see what happens.” Whittaker said. “I’m not looking to take a long time off. Obviously I have to give myself the appropriate amount of rest time for my brain, but I want to get back in there and I want to just get back to work. It’s what I do...

“If my health is all on point, on check, February, March next year. That’s not out of the ordinary. I think that would be good.”

That timeline could work out to match up Whittaker with the winner of the Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren Till fight that takes place at UFC 244. More importantly, Whittaker’s readiness to get back to action should serve as a notice to the fans who started decrying him following the loss, and even suggested he walk away from the sport. For Whittaker, this was just another part of the MMA journey.

“This isn’t even a setback, this is just part of the career,” Whittaker said. “This is just part of my journey. This is part of the ups and downs of fighting. If you never wanted to encounter hardships like this or the taste of defeat, then I never would have put my hat in the ring, because it’s always there. It’s looming. Everybody loses. Except Khabib. [Laughs]. And I stand by that. I don’t think he ever loses. That guy is unreal. But yeah, everybody barring Khabib loses. It’s just part of the game. So I’m not gonna retire just because I lost. F*cking hell, that’s stupid.”


Joanna. Joanna Jedrzejczyk addresses reports of weight struggles for UFC Tampa.

Victory. Michelle Waterson calls Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s reported weight issues ‘a small victory’.

Interesting. Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson interested in Francis Ngannou fight under the right conditions

Confidence. Kayla Harrison: ‘There’s never going to be a female on this planet who can grapple as good as me’.

Rematch. Artem Lobov vs. Jason Knight 2 set for BKFC 9 in November.


The A-Side Live Chat.

Kron Gracie’s open workout is the most Kron Gracie thing ever.

Michelle Waterson plays the nickname game.

Tyron Woodley has lost his mind.

Corey Anderson convinced Jon Jones is ducking him.

Rockhold and Khabib’s gym reaction to DC’s loss.


Heavy Hands. Praising the greatness of Israel Adesanya and previewing this weekend.

Pull No Punches. Bas Rutten interview where he addresses the WBKFF pay scandal.


Joanna says we all good.

Nutritionist Beef!

Durinho is ready to step in.

Unclear what’s going on here.

Felder calling out Dan Hooker I believe.

Yan calling out Moraes.

Without looking it up, how many of you can name the Rizin light heavyweight champ?

Tony being Tony.

Izzy giving props.


Ngannou has style.


Enrique Barzola (16-4-1) vs. Movsar Evloev (11-0); UFC on ESPN+ 20, Oct. 20.

Vanessa Porto (21-8) vs. Karina Rodriguez (8-3); Invicta FC 38, Nov. 1.

Kanako Murata (10-1) vs. Emily Ducote (8-5); Invicta FC 38, Nov. 1.

Ryan Curtis (5-1) vs. Amir Albazi (11-1); Brave CF, Nov. 15.

Nathan Rose (7-2) vs. Harry Hardwick (4-2); Bellator London, Nov. 23.


Man, Bobby Knuckles is just delightful.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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