Mount Annan's Robert Whittaker ready to defend UFC middleweight title

RELAXED: UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at home with his wife Sofia and daughter Lilliana. Picture: James Brickwood
RELAXED: UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at home with his wife Sofia and daughter Lilliana. Picture: James Brickwood

"I was born to do this.”

That’s the message from Mount Annan fighter Robert Whittaker as he prepares for the biggest challenge of his career.

Whittaker will look to defend his UFC middleweight title against American Kelvin Gastelum at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on February 10.

The 29-year-old told the Advertiser that he felt great ahead of the fight.

“I’ve been training hard but I’ve done all I can now [to prepare], I’m just trying to enjoy it,” Whittaker said.

“The crowd will be huge, tickets sold out within minutes of release. I expect a packed and loud stadium.

“I am proud to defend my title.”

However, Whittaker said he would not underestimate his opponent Gastelum.

“I expect a very hard fight from him,” he said.

“Kelvin is young and keen, I expect the very best [fight] from him.”

UFC middleweight title holder Robert Whittaker (left) and Kelvin Gastelum pose for a photograph. Picture: Stefan Postles/AAP

UFC middleweight title holder Robert Whittaker (left) and Kelvin Gastelum pose for a photograph. Picture: Stefan Postles/AAP

Whittaker’s last bout saw the fighter defeat Yoel Romero last June.

The Macarthur fighter said he kept motivated by training hard all-year round.

“I’m young enough to try new things when training and to continue to learn,” he said.

“I’m very competitive, I always want to better than my opponent.

“Being able to learn new skills is what fuels my fire.”

Whittaker said he was excited to see UFC grow in popularity here in Australia.

“It is an exciting sport to watch, but it’s also great for your body and your health,” he said.

Whittaker thanked the Macarthur community for providing “absolutely great” support.

“I walk down the street back home and a lot of fans recognise me, it’s great.”

UFC middleweight title holder Robert Whittaker speaks to the media during a press conference at Melbourne Arena in Melbourne last month. Picture: Stefan Postles/AAP

UFC middleweight title holder Robert Whittaker speaks to the media during a press conference at Melbourne Arena in Melbourne last month. Picture: Stefan Postles/AAP