UFC news: Paul Craig eyes LHW top 10, Whittaker sends Adesanya message

“My head was telling me to give in. Your brain is smart, it knows how the body is feeling. But this sort of heart will not let it happen.”

Although he’s currently waiting for an opponent, Craig is confident his next two fights will put him on the cusp of title contention.

“I’m in that top ten by the end of the year,” the 30-year-old said. “I set my goals for the start of this year and that’s where I wanted to be.

“I knew it wasn’t realistic to be fighting for the title because I’d taken a few losses. But after that loss to Jim Crute, I set myself some new targets and I’m going to nail them.

“I’m going to have three fights this year and then I’m going to be in that top ten.”

Meanwhile, Robert Whittaker has hailed Israel Adesanya following his interim middleweight title victory last weekend but has insisted he will hand ‘The Last Stylebender’ his first loss.

Adesanya set up a Trans-Tasman super-fight with the undisputed 185lb king early on Sunday morning in the co-main event of UFC 236 in Atlanta, where he defeated Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision.

The Nigerian-born New Zealander battled through immense adversity to claim his first UFC title, which greatly impressed Whittaker.

“He showed a lot of heart. He got hit a little bit and came back,” said Whittaker. “He was very accurate, with high volume. It was a very impressive win.”

Australia’s Whittaker reckons he can expose Adesanya’s flashy kickboxing style, adding: “He’s hittable. I’m better at striking than Gastelum.

“I’m going to punch him and I am very, very good at it, very fast and hit hard and he doesn’t like getting hit.”

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