UFC 254: Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier, How to Watch, Australia...

The goal is a three-round middleweight match at UFC 254 on Fight Island. The journey for Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier was differentto say the least.

There’s no way you can make it to the UFC. But on Sunday we will see a fight against the odds in a co-main event showdown that will likely decide who 185 pound champion Israel Adesanya will face next.

Not because it’s on an island in Abu Dhabi during a global pandemic, but because on paper these two men should never come together, let alone fight.

See Khabib vs Gaethje on UFC 254 Live at the Main Event on Foxtel, Sunday October 25th at 5pm AEDT. ORDER NOW>

Khabib silences Stephan A.

1:07

When Jared Cannonier made his UFC debut in 2014, he weighed 235 pounds; a heavyweight. When he recorded his first win against Cyril Asker in 2016, he weighed 241 pounds.

“Over 300 [pounds]“Cannonier says how heavy it was before the fight. A career in mixed martial arts was far from a certainty.

“I got out of the army, we were pregnant, I put on a lot of baby weight, ate a whole bunch of ribs,” explained Cannonier. “I really let myself go … and it was a recovered trip, if you will.”

Cannonier went 1-1 as a heavyweight in the UFC. He was 2-3 as a light heavyweight. But he should never have competed in these divisions. His 3-0 middleweight record is proof of that.

Hit David Branch, Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson at 185 pounds, Cannonier is the new, exciting guy on the block despite being 36 years old.

But Whittaker is a different kind of test. The former middleweight champion is still 29 years old and in his prime. At this point, he is comfortable facing the “next big thing”.

“I didn’t see what Jared did,” Whittaker said. “I do not care. I don’t care what he does. I don’t care if he had 400 knockout wins, I don’t mind. I didn’t look it up.

“My whole thing is that I think he’s not ready for me because I know what to put on the table, I know the type of fighter I am. I don’t think he’s on my level. ”

Adesanya plans to fight Cannonians next. And whether it’s fatigue after years of Whittaker at the top or a result of his middleweight performance, the American is the betting favorite.

Whittaker is back on Fight Island after defeating Darren Till in July.
Whittaker is back on Fight Island after defeating Darren Till in July.Those: Getty Images

“They all forget … to be reminded soon,” Whittaker wrote in a fight week Instagram post.

“Honestly, I just thought it was a cool caption,” he joked without letting anyone know he was interested in the conversation that surrounds him.

“But I’ve always been the dark horse,” added Whittaker.

“I’ve always been the sleeper. Everyone sleeps on me. You know, I had that time when people weren’t sleeping on me.

“And as soon as I lost, they started sleeping on me again. I don’t mind though. I like to upset people. I like derailing the hype trains, I like disrupting opportunities. I like that stuff. It is fun. It’s like the cherry on top after a fight. ”

Whittaker is back on Fight Island after returning to winning ways against top candidate Darren Till in July. It was a high-level five-round chess game that the Australian won. Cannonier described Whittaker’s use of the angled kick on Till’s knee as “dirty” and continued on Wednesday.

“It’s legal, so that’s what it is.” He said. “I just gave my opinion on it. I think it’s a career changing move … it’s the fighting game, and I totally understand that … I’m all good at everyone doing whatever they want, which is within the rules. ”

Whittaker quipped, “I won’t kick him on the knee if he doesn’t hit.”

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Khabib taller than Conor now?

Khabib taller than Conor now?

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While most gain weight over the course of their careers, like Whittaker who jumped from welterweight to middleweight, Cannonier is the pretty big exception.

“I’m more efficient,” said Cannonier of life in the 185-pound division. “It’s definitely beneficial not to be burdened with an additional 30, 40, 50 pounds of bacon fat – better on my knees, joints and the like.

“I’m leaner and more aerodynamic, if you will.

“I think you can say that heavyweight and light heavyweight fighting has a psychological impact on someone fighting in a lighter weight class, but it would be selfish to say these guys don’t stand a chance because I did. That’s just not the reality. ”

Jared Cannonier has made a home for himself in the middleweight division.
Jared Cannonier has made a home for himself in the middleweight division.Those: Getty Images

The idea of ​​a heavy weight middleweight is daunting, but Whittaker has fought guys who hit hard. After all, he survived 50 minutes with Yoel Romero.

The key is not hit.

“I expect it to hit hard,” said Whittaker. “It’s pretty obvious, if you’ve ever seen him fight, that he hits hard. But I fought against people who hit hard before.

“Everyone hits hard in this division. I guess I hope I can duck and weave [big punches]. ”

For Whittaker, who wants the Adesanya rematch who may be on the other side of victory, the plan is simple.

“I think I’m better than him across the board in terms of skills,” he said. “So I’ll lead this dance and lead this fight wherever I want.”

See Khabib vs Gaethje on UFC 254 Live at the Main Event on Foxtel, Sunday October 25th at 5pm AEDT. ORDER NOW>

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