I have more weapons than Till: Whittaker

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker says he'll have more weapons to call on than England's Darren Till when they fight in Abu Dhabi.

ROBERT WHITTAKER battles JACARE SOUZAQ during their Middleweight bout on UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
ROBERT WHITTAKER battles JACARE SOUZAQ during their Middleweight bout on UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Robert Whittaker is convinced he has more weapons in his arsenal than English opponent Darren Till as the Australian looks to rebound from burnout and losing his UFC middleweight world title.

The No.1 contender for the title, Whittaker faces fifth-ranked Till in the headline bout of the next Fight Island show in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Sydneysider Whittaker hasn't fought since New Zealender Israel Adesanya stopped him in the second round and took his title last October, in front of a world record UFC crowd of 57,127 at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium.

He has emerged from what he describes as a potential career-ending burnout at the turn of the year, which prompted him to take some time off.

At 29, Whittaker says he has found a new love and enjoyment of the sport and a new attitude and mental outlook.

He returns to the octagon against 27-year-old Till, who challenged unsuccessfully for the welterweight title in 2018 before moving up to middleweight, where he had a split-decision points win over Kelvin Gastelum last November.

'Where I see the difference between me and him is his most dangerous weapon is just the singular left hand, whereas I have such an arsenal of weapons at my disposal," Whittaker said.

"I can take him wherever I want. If I want to go to the ground, I'll take it to the ground.

"I want to knock him out. I'm going to try it.

Whittaker has developed his craft during the coronavirus pandemic, working in his own personal quarantined gym.

"Across the board, I have increased my skill set," Whittaker said.

"My striking has got a little bit crisper and a little smarter.

"I definitely think my wrestling, my grappling has gotten better and that's the journey of this sport, just to try and increase your skill sets.

"(Till) has got dangerous skill sets he's fought for titles. he's been in the top 10 in the world in the welterweight weight division, the middleweight division now.

"He's a good fighter. I just think I'm better."

Flying to Abu Dhabi during the pandemic didn't cause any complications for Whittaker.

"It was better - there was more room on the plane," he joked.