Whittaker expresses frustration with cancellation of fight against Chimaev and preaches respect for new rival

Australian highlights interest in remaining present at the event; athlete will face Ikram Aliskerov on June 22, in Saudi Arabia

R,Whittaker after UFC fight. Photo: Reproduction/Instagram

R. Whittaker after UFC fight. Photo: Reproduction/Instagram

Hoping to measure forces against Khamzat Shimaev No. UFC Saudi Arabia, Robert whittaker had to deal with an unexpected setback: cancellation of the fight against the Emirati. Despite being aware that his rival had medical problems, the Australian expressed frustration at the lost opportunity. The fight was scheduled for June 22nd.

“Friend, when I knew it wasn't happening (that's when I found out). There were no rumors or anything. It was just that Khamzat is out, and so what's happening now? It was a little frustrating, I spent three months working on a very specific game plan for a very specific opponent, obviously Chimaev doesn't fight like a lot of people, I really adapted to that style of fighting. I’m still in shape, I’m still sharp,” Whittaker told BJPENN.com.

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Determined to fight at the event, Robert accepted a call to Ikram Aliskerov at the last minute and preached respect to the new opponent.

“I flew here and I understand that I'm the main event on the card, which comes with a level of responsibility, it's how I make a living. I wanted to fight, I wanted the show to go on and I wanted to do my job, so hats off to Ikram for taking the fight and to the UFC for organizing it, and I'm looking forward to putting on a show,” he added.

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Ikram Aliskerov fighting in UFC 294. Photo: Reproduction/Twitter UFC

Currently second in the middleweight rankings (up to 83,9kg), Whittaker is preparing to defend a crucial position against an athlete who is not yet part of the rankings. The confrontation is still scheduled for June 22nd and will be the main fight of the UFC Saudi Arabia. First event to be held in the country.

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