Robert Whittaker will once again miss out on fighting at home.
It was revealed earlier today (Mon., Dec. 19, 2022) that UFC 284 on Feb. 11, 2023, in Perth, Australia will no longer play host to the Middleweight contender tilt between Whittaker and Paulo Costa after contract negotiations dissolved on Costa’s end. Instead, Whittaker is now left hanging with intentions of getting rebooked in the following months.
“G’day, everybody,” Whittaker said via Twitter video. “I’m sure you’ve seen the media and the rumors going around right now about the Perth card and it’s upsetting to say — very upsetting to say — they’re true. The fight with Costa has fallen apart. UFC tried everything in their power to get him to the fight. They gave him a new contract, from what I understand, to take the fight and he still didn’t take the fight. So, yeah, the Perth fight is not happening.
“They’re looking to reschedule me [in] March, April  and this is very upsetting,” he continued. “I’m sorry to all the friends, fans, and family that are heading over there to watch me do work, but yeah it’s out of my hands. I’m upset. I was prepared to train through Christmas, to train through New Year’s to put in the work. I’m already so deep into my camp and everyone knows that my camps are quite long, so I’m already so deep into my camp and work.”
Whittaker’s last time out came in a strong rebound effort against Marvin Vettori at UFC Paris in Sept. 2022 (watch highlights). Scoring the unanimous decision, Whittaker inched his way back closer to a title opportunity, but likely needs one more win to make that claim. With the change in champion since then, however, he’ll have to see how things shake out between the new titleholder, Alex Pereira, and Whittaker’s old foe, Israel Adesanya.
“I’m just going to train, I’m going to train my hardest, I’m going to train like a demon and just take out my frustrations on the next guy,” Whittaker said. “Whoever they put in front of me. In that first quarter, I’m going to get in there and then do my work.”