Robert Whittaker issues first statement since upset loss to Du Plessis at UFC 290

UFC middleweight star Robert Whittaker releases a video message update for fans.

By: Stephie Haynes | 4 weeks ago

Robert Whittaker had a game plan this past Saturday night, but unfortunately for him, it wasn’t the right one to ensure a victory against his opponent, Dricus Du Plessis. The “Reaper” started well but by the last minute or so of the first stanza, Du Plessis had found his rhythm and had stolen the round from him. The second round would see Mr. Knuckles dropped, swarmed and eventually TKO’d.

It was a shock, to say the least, as many in the community had Dricus pegged as a careless, defensively porous fighter blessed with power, durability, and not much else aside from luck. I was one of those people. I have been eating crow ever since. Du Plessis looked good out there. Love him or hate him, he improved leaps and bounds from performances in previous fights.

I wasn’t the only one to notice the improvements, though. In a video Robert Whittaker released earlier to social media, he noted that Dricus “showed up to fight” and provided an update on his health. He also gave an estimated time frame on his return to the octagon, and he is aiming for a quick turnaround.

Robert Whittaker, class act: volume 96321

“Good day, everybody. This is just an update and I’m home now with my family and I’m healthy. I just want to say firstly, big thank you to all my friends and family and to everybody that messaged me or left a comment on one of the many videos going around, showing their love and support. I really do feel it and I appreciate it. I wouldn’t be in it without you guys,” Robert Whittaker said.

“Secondly, I want to say a huge thank you to all my team and my coaches. Day in, day out, they’re in there helping me get to the fight, helping me prepare for the fight and help me get through day-to-day battles, as well. They’re my second family.

“I want to say thank you to my sponsors. Obviously, there was a big lag between fights and my sponsors are the ones that carried me, so thank you to you guys,” he continued.

“And lastly, I want to say thank you to—not thank you but congratulations—to Dricus. He showed up to fight, you know, and I didn’t, but that’s the nature of the beast. You can’t have a day off. Yeah, it is what it is. But, I will say that I do believe that challenges and hardships and obstacles that get presented to you that you overcome, that make you stronger, that build character—make you a better man and a better athlete.

“I will come back stronger for this. I’ll come back, hopefully, by the end of the year. I want to get in the octagon by the end of the year to close the year on a win and bring back the Reaper you guys all know. But that’s me. I’m gonna enjoy a couple weeks now with my family, resting and recalibrating—recharging the batteries and that. Then I’ll get back in the gym, get back to work and come back better than ever. Thanks again, everybody and stay tuned.”

Who do we want Robert Whittaker fighting next?

I’d have to think for an extended period, do some real roster diving (middleweight isn’t exactly deep) to figure out who I’d want to see Robert Whittaker against next, but right now, I think I’d like to see him fight Paulo Costa. It was supposed to happen at UFC 284, but Costa was in a contract dispute and the bout was nixed. Perhaps this can be our opportunity. Yes, I know, Paulo is fighting at the end of this month (against Ikram Aliskerov), but that’s plenty of time for an end-of-year fight. And if not, perhaps the very beginning of 2024. I manifest.

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About the author
Stephie Haynes
Stephie Haynes

Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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