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Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker, likely the two standout middleweight fighters of the past several years, will meet again in the cage, according to ‘Stylebender.’

Adesanya and Whittaker, who between them have competed in several 185-pound title bouts, are both on the periphery of the title picture in the middleweight fold, with Adesanya due to challenge the champion, Dricus du Plessis in Australia next month, while Whittaker continues to rise towards another title bout after his impressive first-round knockout of Ikram Aliskerov in Saudi Arabia last month.

And while Adesanya is confident that he will become a three-time world champion Down Under next month at UFC 305, he says that Australia’s finest won’t be far behind him.

“I was fighting the local hero, Rob Whittaker, who just actually had a great win a week or two weeks ago, but I was fighting him here and defending my belt for the first time on enemy territory,” Adesanya said in an interview with Australian outlet Today, as noted by MMA Junkie. “I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to make it a show.’ And I did.”

On that particular occasion in Melbourne in October 2019, Adesanya ended Whittaker’s night in the second round when he landed a stinging shot that sent his opponent stumbling backwards before he finished the Aussie with a barrage of ground strikes.

That said, and with two victories over Whittaker on his career ledger, Adesanya said that his rival’s ongoing body of work is difficult to ignore.

“[His finish of Aliskerov] was beautiful. Robbie’s that guy. We fought twice. We always have history, but it was good to see him back in the win column, and he’s coming for me, so I’ve got to stay ready.”

For any of this to happen, though, Adesanya must crack a puzzle that no one in the UFC — including Whittaker himself — has managed to solve: beating Du Plessis.

But for Adesanya, the fight represents a wider rivalry with the South African champion.

“For me, you have to honor the guys who came before you,” he explained. “He’s the guy saying, ‘I’m the real African champion,’ but look, you wouldn’t have been able to do what you’re doing at home in South Africa if myself, Francis Ngannou and Kamaru (Usman) didn’t pave the way for you. So you have to respect your elders, and I’ll make sure I do that to him.”