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Robert Whittaker Confident He’s Still a ‘Better Fighter’ Than Dricus Du Plessis


While Robert
Whittaker is coming off a loss against Dricus Du
Plessis, “The Reaper” believes he beats the South African “nine
out of 10 times.”

“Stillknocks” handed Whittaker a second-round TKO loss at UFC 290
this past July, earning himself a title shot. He went on to defeat
Strickland at UFC 297 last month to be crowned the new
middleweight champ. While Whittaker admits that he underestimated
Du Plessis going into their matchup, the former champ firmly
believes he is more skilled than the South African.

“Dricus is a hungry guy, and I think I underestimated that hunger,”
Whittaker said during a pre-fight press conference in Sydney. “I
still believe I beat him nine times out of 10. I still believe that
I’m a better fighter than he is, that I have a better skill set
than he does, but [fighting] a big, strong, hungry guy that’s
willing to leave it all there, you need to match that. I feel like
I didn’t do that in that last fight and it really made me think a
little bit.”

Whittaker will look to return to the win column against former
title challenger Paulo Costa
at UFC 298 on Feb. 17 in Anaheim, California. With two bookings
against Costa having fallen through in the past, “Bobby Knuckles”
is eager to go to finally face the Brazilian.

“It is what it is, the best way to make amends is to get back on
the horse, and the only way to prove everyone wrong is to get a win
under your belt…The Du Plessis fight and camp was a good wake-up
call,” he said. “From that fight, from that camp, from that
preparation, we went back to the gym, went back home, we saw things
in hindsight — which is always 20-20 — and we took things away that
we liked, added things, made some tweaks here and there, and
honestly, I would think it’s been for the better. I’m coming into
this fight hungrier than ever. I’ve been really focused on trying
to bring that animal back.

“I’m not just in this fight to win, I’m in it to hurt Costa and I
think that mentality is a powerful thing to have.”

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