UFC president Dana White has confirmed January as his targeted date for a Las Vegas title blockbuster between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya, saying: “I will get that done”.
In a wide-ranging Australian interview, White has opened up on his plans for the UFC middleweight division while also taking the big stick to issues involving Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Jake Paul and the ongoing “s … show” of celebrity boxing.
The UFC boss also urged Australia’s Alex Volkanovski to go ink his name alongside greats like Anderson Silva and Chuck Liddell next Sunday, by earning his own ‘moment’ at UFC 266 in Las Vegas.
The reigning UFC featherweight, and currently unbeaten inside the Octagon, Volkanovski can also create history against American Brian Ortega by becoming the first Australian to defend a UFC title twice.
Meanwhile, Whittaker is also set to receive his anticipated title rematch with fierce arch rival Adesanya, who took his strap before 60,000 fans at UFC 243 in 2019.
While White initially wanted the showdown headline his UFC 268 Madison Square Garden card in November, ongoing issues around New Zealand quarantines meant the champ was unable to get over for the fight and then back into Auckland.
Yet when asked about whispers suggesting the fight would now be held Stateside in January, for what will likely be UFC 270, White grinned: “Could be”.
Then, after a short pause continued: “That’s what we’re working on, we’re working on January.”
So as for getting Adesanya’s travel issues sorted?
“Listen, I don’t to be all cocky and s…,” he continued. “But we will do everything in our power to get that worked out.
“That’s a fight we want to make so we’re working on it. I will get that done.
“Although you know what sucks? With everything that’s going on right now, when you think about that fight, that fight should be done over there (in Australia or New Zealand).
“But that ain’t gunna happen.”
Meanwhile, White also revealed that if Volkanovski wins this Sunday, he could go straight into a third bout with former champ Max Holloway, who many — including White — believe won their most recent encounter in UFC 251 in 2020.
However the UFC boss suggested Yair Rodriguez, who is ranked No.3 in the division, was the other option they would consider.
Elsewhere, White also said he was now expecting big things from rising Aussie welterweight Jack Della Maddalena, who earlier this week earned himself a UFC contract after an outstanding win on The Contender series.
White likened the performance to “a work of art”.