Jon Anik is hoping all questions will be answered in regards to who is the best middleweight in the world at the end of UFC 271.
The headliner for the UFC’s February PPV event will be a rematch for the 185-pound title between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker. They first met at UFC 243 where Adesanya became the undisputed champion with a second-round stoppage of Whittaker in front of a massive crowd in Melbourne, Australia.
Anik, who is teaming up with Modelo and DraftKings for the Golden Ticket Challenge, is excited to call the rematch and expects a much more competitive battle this time around.
“Israel Adesanya is certainly not blind to the fact this fight was probably gonna come around again,” Anik told MMA Fighting. “He’s never lost in the weight class and I think any time you have a championship fight that is as anticipated as their first meeting, that ends relatively quickly, you feel a little bit short changed. I mean, I went out of there thinking, without a shadow of a doubt, that Israel Adesnaya was the undisputed king of the middleweights, but I’m looking for finality. I think Izzy is, too.
“I think we’re gonna get a longer fight. Obviously there was a huge backdrop of 55,000 people [in their first fight], it will be a few less this time around, it will be stateside. But this is a fight that had to happen and and I’m excited both guys are healthy.”
Whittaker admits he was not in the best headspace heading into their first matchup and relayed to MMA Fighting recently that he has as much clarity as he has had in his entire career heading into the rematch with Adesanya. After losing the title, “The Reaper” bounced back with three straight wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum to earn his way back to a title shot.
In the eyes of Anik, he believes everything Whittaker is saying about his current mindset and training camp.
“It’s a dream matchup,” Anik said. “It’s a rematch, there’s a little bit of heat on it and it is set up beautifully with Robert Whittaker’s preparation. He has obviously been ubiquitously regarded as one of the hardest workers in the room, in the game, for a long time, but that doesn’t mean that every training camp is optimal — let’s not pretend he doesn’t have three, if not four children under the age of 10 — there’s a lot of different variables.
“When everything in your life isn’t completely aligned perfectly, sometimes that can rear its ugly head when it comes to a training session. And when you’re asking a lot of your body for two, three-a-days for eight or 12 weeks, it can be a lot, but this, from all indications, has been an optimal training camp for Robert Whittaker.”