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Robert Whittaker focused simply on Jared Cannonier – not title picture – entering UFC 254

ABU DHABI – Robert Whittaker is not too worried about the future at 185 pounds.

The former UFC middleweight champion is focused on one thing only – Jared Cannonier. Whittaker (21-5 MMA, 12-3 UFC) takes on Cannonier (13-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) in the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 254 pay-per-view event at Flash Forum.

And although many consider the middleweight contest a No. 1 contender bout, it’s not exactly known what champ Israel Adesanya will do next, as he’s shown interest in the light heavyweight division, as well as Jon Jones.

Whittaker couldn’t care less what happens next.

“I don’t think anybody owes anybody anything,” Whittaker said in a UFC 254 pre-fight scrum. “I’m trying to fight Jared right now, and I’m not thinking about it at all, what (Adesanya) can do. He can fight anyone; I don’t care. I just want to take this fight, go do my best, and go home and enjoy Christmas.”

Whittaker knows he’s got a strong adversary in front of him, and it’s exactly the reason why his focus remains solely on Cannonier. Yet, the Australian feels confident in all facets of the game heading into UFC 254.

“Jared right now is the highest threat level than anyone because he’s the dude I have to fight,” Whittaker said. “I’ve had hard fights, and I expect a hard fight in Jared. He’s a hard dude. I’m not sleeping on his skill set. He can beat me. I could lose, but I don’t think I will.

“I’m certainly respecting his skill set. He’s very tough, he’s very powerful, and he’s resilient. He doesn’t go away but honestly, I just think I’m better across the board.

“I can take this fight wherever I want it to go. I can lead this dance. I think I can sting him, I can knock him out. Honestly, I can do anything, and I have 15 minutes to do that. It’s better than 25, so I’m looking forward to it.”

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