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UFC fill in Whittaker out to impress

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 Adrian Warren

Robert Whittaker is determined to showcase Australia's UFC wares to the world despite regarding himself as a flll-in headliner for the November 27 card at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena..

Sydneysider Whittaker 25, will be only the fourth Australian to headline a UFC card, when he fights fellow world ranked middleweight Derek Brunson.

His bout was bumped up the card after former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold had to withdraw from the main event fight against Ronaldo Souza.

"Probably shock at first, it was a bit of a surprise," Whittaker told AAP.

"Probably there would have been a bit more excitement I guess if I wasn't the fill-in because I can't help feeling that way, that I'm the fill-in.

"But I'm stil more than happy to have this honour and be an Australian headlining.

"Not many people can say they've done that and I'm one of the few.

'It's definitely a milestone in my life

"But this by far will not be the last time you see me on the headline."

Whittaker and heavyweight Mark Hunt are currently the only two Australian world-ranked UFC fighters.

Headlining a card will provide invaluable exposure around the world for Whittaker, as he tries to advance his and Australia's profiles in the rapidly growing MMA brand.

"I'm always trying to prove myself to the rest of the world," Whittaker said.

"Every fight I try to get out there and set an example to show the rest of the world we have fighters from Australia and we're for real and we're here to stay.

"I've learned and gained skills and tool sets, I'm oh so eager to implement them in the octagon."

Both men have excellent recent form, each winning their last five fights.

"He's got killer wrestling, he's got killer power, he's athletic, he's strong," Whittaker said of Brunson.

"I watch a couple of fights to get a visual image in my head, I don't like doing a lot of research on my opponents, I leave that to my coaches."

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