Make way UFC middleweights….there's a monster on the move in the division and he is doing it in blatant fashion: meet Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker.
I've had the pleasure of watching him early on in his career and it’s so exciting to see him in a recognised spotlight as one of the best.
What makes me such a fan of "The Reaper" is that not only is he an Aussie but as an Aussie, he represents the sport respectfully inside and outside of the Octagon.
The humble family man is a great example of the integrity of the sport, where many fighters swim upstream to demand the spotlight, but it naturally falls on Robert Whittaker.
Last Sunday (AEDT) on UFC on FOX 24, 'The Reaper' entered the Octagon as an underdog against the heavily favoured human weapon Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza.
The then no.3 ranked middleweight was the obvious prodigal prospect to challenge next for the belt.
I'll confess I’m a big fan of Jacare, his jiu-jitsu is top notch and scary and he has the ability to get his opponents down on the ground one way or another.
The match-up with Robert Whittaker generated an easy consensus for those who weren’t well acquainted with 'The Reaper", with odds favouring a finish over the Aussie.
Not if Whittaker had anything to do with it. The round 2 TKO (head kick and punches) was not what impressed me most about the fight, but rather The Reapers' flawless strategy to neutralise Jacare’s knockout power and ground threat.
It didn't stop there for me, Whittaker really shined with his composure and patience against Jacare, boasting a skillset that Jacare's victims crumbled without.
In November 2015, Dana White was quoted at a Sydney fan event saying Whittaker is one of the most talented and explosive fighters in the world.
The UFC boss couldn't have spoken truer words, but could we ever have seen the capacity at which Whittaker would change the middleweight division.
Skill keeps you afloat in the UFC, the world's most prestigious mixed martial arts organisation, but to stand out like Whittaker is doing today is another level you can't put on paper.
As a newly minted no.3 contender, Whittaker poses a new problem for several reasons.
First reason is current champ Michael "The Count" Bisping (pictured above), second reason is GSP who is set to fight Bisping next for the belt.
Last but not least, third reason is Yoel Romero, who has been patiently waiting for his promised shot at the title.
With Whittaker’s hand raised over Jacare, the winds have shifted and it’s clear what the next question now for Whittaker's future isn’t where, but when.
The statement 'The Reaper' made at UFC on Fox 24 shows how dangerous he becomes with each fight, making for a scary and limitless potential for the middleweight.
Will we see our Aussie Robert Whittaker fighting for gold this year? Let's hope so.
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