Call-out reveals Robert Whittaker’s rising UFC credibility

11-07-2018 by admin

Robert Whittaker, left, hits Rafael Natal UFC 197. Photo: John LocherAfter defeating Rafael Natal at UFC 197, rising Australian UFC star Robert Whittaker said that if you’re a middleweight you’re on his list.

After UFC 198, it appears Brazilian Thiago Santos wants to jump the queue.

Santos took just one round to dispose of UFC veteran Nate Marquardt, swarming the former Strikeforce welterweight champion with body kicks and left hooks that eventually knocked Marquardt out cold.

The rangy striker’s hot run has extended to four consecutive wins, including a performance-of-the-night head kick KO of Steve Bosse in possibly the deepest weight division in the UFC, and in the post-fight interview commentator Brian Stann asked Santos if there was anyone in the division he would like to fight.

Calling out an opponent in the UFC is a science. If you’re rising up the ranks but you aren’t quite in the top 10, like Santos, the best bet is to pick a fighter with a lot of momentum behind them and draw on that.

In the middleweight division not many fighters have more momentum than Brit Michael Bisping and of course our own Robert Whittaker.

True to form, Santos called out both fighters, declaring that he was determined to move up the middleweight ladder fast.

The problem is, however, that Santos has gone too hard, too soon.

Marquardt is no longer the prized scalp he once was, and while on the back of that victory Santos may be nudging the top 15, he’s not in a position to call out Bisping, ranked fourth in the world, or Whittaker, ranked sixth.

There may be another problem with Santos’ call-out.

There are strong rumours circulating that Whittaker and Bisping may be matched up sooner rather than later, possibly in a UFC return to Melbourne, possibly in November, however this has not been confirmed by the UFC.

Whittaker hasn’t responded to the call-out on Twitter, having recently returned from a family holiday in Japan, however this is the first time the 25-year-old fighter from Menai has been called out in the UFC.

Although the bout extremely unlikely to happen, the call-out indicates that is Whittaker starting to turn the heads of not only UFC fans but also the heads of the fighters in his division, and they’re keen to get on his list.

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