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Robert Whittaker Addresses Possibility of Future Fight with 'Shara Bullet'



Robert Whittaker appreciates the respect Sharabutdin Magomedov has shown for him.

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Both Whittaker and Magomedov won “Performance of the Night” bonuses for their respective stoppage wins at UFC on ABC 6 at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday. Whittaker took less than two minutes to knock out Ikram Aliskerov, who replaced Khamzat Chimaev on nine days’ notice in the main event of the night. Meanwhile, Magomedov put on a striking masterclass to secure a late stoppage over Brazilian debutant Antonio Trocoli, who took the fight on three days’ notice.

Whittaker, who watched Magomedov’s fight against Trocoli, was impressed by the Dagestani’s performance. However, “Bobby Knuckles” noted that Trocoli started to fatigue after a hectic flurry early in the first round.

“I did [watch his fight]. The guy he fought was tired man, very tired,” Whittaker said at the post-fight press conference. “Not taking anything away from Shara. I like the way he utilized his kicks, the way he stayed focused and the way he danced on the outside, avoided the dangers of half the first round. Yeah, it was admirable. But the guy he fought was tired.”

Given Magomedov’s rising popularity, Whittaker was asked about a potential clash against the undefeated prospect in the future. While Whittaker is not one to duck any opponent, he believes Magomedov still has a few more steps to climb before being considered a potential opponent.

“I’m at the top of the ladder. I fight everyone. I’ve fought everyone. There isn’t anybody that I haven’t fought,” Whittaker said. “Earn your stripes, earn your shot and get there. I’ve never picked or danced away from any opponents. If our paths cross, they cross.”

Magomedov agreed that a Whittaker booking ideally lies somewhere further down the line in his career. When Chimaev pulled out of his clash against Whittaker, Magomedov was asked if he would have liked the opportunity to fight “The Reaper” on short notice. While “Bullet” admitted that a chance to fight Whittaker would be too good to pass, the Dagestani said he would prefer the fight to be for the title.

And Whittaker can’t help liking Magomedov a little bit more for that respect, even though he tries not to develop any feelings of fondness for middleweights who could be potential opponents.

“I appreciate the respect he’s giving me,” Whittaker said. “Now I like him a little bit more. I try not to like any middleweight because there might be potential opponents. But I’m respectful to all middleweights because honestly only the other middleweights understand what we go through. Understand the hard work and the sacrifice and the determination you need to succeed in the sport. So, they have the most respect for me, as much as I try to not like them. And he’s doing his thing, he got a good win tonight. I wish him the best. And like I said, if out paths cross one day they cross. Maybe, maybe not.”
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