‘More bull****’: Whittaker calls out McGregor
AUSTRALIAN UFC star Robert Whittaker has laughed off suggestions Conor McGregor has quit the fight game, describing his recent retirement tweet as "more bull****".
In a rough couple of days for the fighting Irish megastar, McGregor has controversially retired via Twitter, been outed in the New York Times over sexual assault allegations and also launched a series of vile social media taunts against Russian UFC arch rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.
So badly has the exchange descended between the two men who sparked a brawl at UFC 229 last December, company president Dana White is now trying to intervene.
Bizarrely, McGregor even used a tweet on Thursday afternoon (Australian time) to suggest he would be returning to the Octagon.
None of which surprises Whittaker
Indeed, Australia's first UFC champ insists the Irishman's latest retirement stunt is no different to him announcing in 2016 he was retiring young with that now infamous "thanks for the cheese" tweet.
At the time, Whittaker was preparing for a fight in Las Vegas and said: "I think it's bull****. We'll see what comes of it but ... yeah."
Of course, McGregor never retired - just as the Sydney slugger is now predicting more of the same.
I want to move forward, with my fans of all faiths and all backgrounds.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) 4 April 2019
All faiths challenge us to be our best selves.
It is one world and one for all ❤️
Now see you in the Octagon.
Don’t be scared of the rematch you little scurrying rat.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) 3 April 2019
You will do what you are told like you always do.
"I think it's more bullshit ... again," Whittaker said. "McGregor may not come back in the next few days, or weeks, but he'll be back."
Whittaker added that even if the retirement announcement was real, he would still be backing an Octagon return for McGregor.
"Because if you're a fighter, you get that itch to come back," he said. "You can't help, you want to scratch.
"And in my opinion, McGregor isn't smart enough to say no."
Elsewhere, Whittaker is tipping American Kelvin Gastelum to upset rising New Zealander Israel Adesanya when the pair fight for the right to challenge him at UFC 236, Las Vegas on Sunday week (Australian time).
"I'd put my money on Gastelum," he said. "I think he's got the tools to beat Adesanya.
"He's got pop and he creeps up on you unexpectedly.
"He's very tough.
"So I think he creeps in and lands that left.
"But Adesanya is crafty, with great striking. So I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens."
And as for who Whittaker would rather fight?
"Both are hard fights," he added. "But Adesanya is the better fight for me.
"But regardless, I look forward to starching either one of them. Whichever of them I fight, I'm going in there to finish."
Having resumed training after his three surgeries for a twisted bowel and internal hernia, Whittaker has asked UFC officials for his next fight to be in August.