Former champion Robert Whittaker is looking for a big finish at UFC 298.
Whittaker will take on Paulo Costa Saturday from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
The first New Zealand-born fighter to hold UFC gold, Whittaker is coming off a loss to Dricus du Plessis. He is 24-7 overall but just 1-2 over his last three with a decision loss to Israel Adesanya in 2022 for the title.
“Now I’m looking to knock him out,” Whittaker told Submission Radio. “But that’s what I’ve been trying for the entire camp. I’m looking for violence.
“I’ve got 15 minutes trying to switch him off, and that’s the objective. That’s exactly what we are. So that’s very good, bro. We’re both on the exact same page.”
Back in 2017, he became the interim champion with a win over Yoel Romero and was later declared the undisputed titleholder. After besting Romero in a rematch, he dropped the title to Adesanya in 2019.
Whittaker eeled off wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum to earn a rematch with Adesanya.
It has been a long time coming for the two, as they were originally scheduled for 2021. That planned main event, though, was shifted to UFC 284 last February before it was scrapped as well.
“He’s a tough, powerful dude, and he’s a bully fighter,” Whittaker said. “If you give him the space and you give him his way, he’ll just bully you in there, and he thrives in that sort of situation.
“But, mate, I’ve fought plenty of bullies before. I’m going to take the fight to him, I’m going to bully him, I’m looking to get in there and hurt him. So no, I don’t think he’ll be getting his way.”
UFC 298 Fight Card
Headlined by a featherweight championship match between Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria, the main card also features former champion Henry Cejudo returning to action.
Cejudo will square off with Merab Dvalishvili in a bantamweight bout. Anthony Hernandez and Roman Kopylov are set to open the main card with Geoff Neal and Ian Machado Garry also on deck.
The prelims include Andrea Lee vs. Miranda Maverick and Amanda Lemos vs. Mackenzie Dern.