Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
A matchup between two of the best middleweights in the world is being targeted for UFC 275.
Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is expected to face one-time title challenger Marvin Vettori in a high-stakes battle on June 11 at UFC 275. MMA Fighting confirmed the news Thursday following an initial report by Ariel Helwani. A location for the event has yet to be determined, although Whittaker teased Singapore as a likely destination while alluding to the matchup on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour.
“It wasn’t part of the plan, but I was offered an opportunity, presented with it, and honestly, I don’t have any injuries from the last fight,” Whittaker said of the Vettori fight. “There’s a lot of things — just the date suits up, there’s a lot of things that I had planned for after the date. And I wanted to get three fights in this year, so hitting a potential fight in June is a good day for me.
“All new challenges interest me,” he added. “There’s never been a particular fight that I’m like, ‘Man, I want that fight because that fight interests me.’ I’ve never really been like that. It’s just more of, I haven’t fought him before. And because my last fight was Izzy, so it was preparing for a rematch — rematches suck, and preparing for rematches suck, especially when you lost the first one. The amount of work and the thought processes that go through the camp and everything like that, it’s a bit trying. So to break away from a rematch and to fight a new face, some new blood, yeah, it’s interesting.”
Whittaker (23-6) is the No. 2 ranked middleweight in the world in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings. The former UFC champion is undefeated at 185 pounds outside of his two losses to current champion Israel Adesanya, owning wins over the likes of Jared Cannonier, Yoel Romero (x2), Derek Brunson, and Darren Till. Whittaker lost a close decision to Adesanya in his most recent outing in February at UFC 271.
Vettori (18-5-1), meanwhile, is MMA Fighting’s No. 5 ranked middleweight and is coming off a win over Paulo Costa in a light heavyweight bout in October. Vettori has also lost twice to Adesanya, while picking up additional wins over Kevin Holland, Jack Hermansson, and Karl Roberson during his 8-3-1 run under the UFC’s umbrella.
MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin and Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.