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Whittaker ready for every UFC challenge

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/11/2016 Michael Ramsey

Australian middleweight Robert Whittaker admits it's hard to believe how far he's come in the UFC.

The Auckland-born fighter has staked his claim as one of a handful of title contenders in the stacked middleweight division after a powerhouse victory over American heavy-hitter Derek Brunson.

Whittaker was named the winner by technical knockout late in the first round of what proved to be a brutal slugfest in Sunday's main event in Melbourne.

With an 18-4 record and a five-fight unbeaten streak since moving up to the middleweight division, 25-year-old Whittaker has an undoubtedly bright future.

Not bad for a former bricklayer who never imagined his UFC career taking off.

"Laying bricks isn't that bad," he joked after Sunday's fight.

"Sometimes I have to look at it. I honestly don't think I'm that good. I wonder 'why the hell am I up there, somehow bumbling through these fights?

"It's been a crazy journey and it's just getting started. I don't think I've hit my prime or anywhere near it and I look forward to the leaps and gains I'm continuously making."

Whittaker, who got his break when he won the Ultimate Fighter 'The Smashes' in 2012 , had the Melbourne crowd in raptures with his victory and reckons there's no greater honour than fighting in front of his friends and family in Australia.

But despite his humble and self-deprecating persona, Whittaker isn't messing around when it comes to his window of opportunity to take on the UFC's best middleweights.

"My aim is to be 24-7 ready," he said.

"I'd always look to headline an Australian card if that's a possibility. That's why I do this sport.

"But I'm definitely looking to fight outside of Australia. If I'm healthy and I'm ready, I'll fight anywhere, anytime."

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