'He doesn't want to fight me' - Israel Adesanya on UFC rival Robert Whittaker

Kiwi mixed martial arts star Israel Adesanya has hit out against Aussie UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, saying his rival is in for a rude awakening when they face off later this year.

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Adesanya criticised Aussie UFC champion Whittaker, saying he's "in his head already." Source: 1 NEWS

Adesanya captured the UFC middleweight interim title after a five-round war, defeating US rival Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision at UFC 236 in Atlanta earlier this month.

The 29-year-old Nigerian born Kiwi said Whittaker has holes in his game and that he will exploit them in their upcoming title fight.

"He [Whittaker] thinks I'm hittable, look at his fight with [Derek] Brunson, Brunson didn't touch me," said Adesanya.

Both Adesanya and Whittaker finished Brunson in their bouts via first round TKOs.

"Look at his fight with [Stephen Thompson] Wonderboy. I’m different, I wouldn’t say that I am better than Wonderboy he’s got a different style."

Whittaker lost to Thompson in welterweight bout in Las Vegas in 2014.

"It's all subjective, it's art. I'm different to Wonderboy let's put it that way."

Whittaker criticised Adesanya in an interview with ESPN following his title win, saying Gastelum showed how "very hittable" the Kiwi fighter is.

"I don't think about him [Whittaker], I think I am in his head already," Adesanya told 1 NEWS.

"I know I'm in his head, I know some things. I know he doesn't want to fight me."

Adesanya is undefeated with a record of 17 wins, he is expected to take on Whittaker for the UFC middleweight title around August-September.