Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is in negotiation to face the newly crowned cruiserweight boxing champion Jai Opetaia. Whittaker was offered a huge $5 million and the fight is likely to happen according to dailymail.
Two of Australia’s biggest combat sport stars are in talks to go toe-to-toe in a mega clash. Jai Opetaia’s team approached Robert Whittaker’s camp with a plan of making Australia’s version of Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather.
Jai Opetaia shocked the world of boxing when he defeated Mairis Briedis for the IBF and The Ring cruiserweight title earlier this month. The 27-year-old entered the squared circle as an underdog and boxed his way to victory with a broken jaw. Both boxers lasted for 12 rounds and Opetaia was announced as the winner via unanimous decision.
Robert Whittaker defeated Yoel Romero in 2017 in a middleweight interim title bout, making him the first Australian born mixed martial artist to hold a UFC title. Later on the same year, the reigning champion Georges St-Pierre vacated the belt and Whittaker was promoted to undisputed champion.
These achievements made both of them a sports star in Australia. Opetaia’s manager Dean Lonergan found a great opportunity to pair the two in the same arena. During an interview with News Corp, Lonergan confirmed that both parties have the same interest about the crossover bout.
— Aus-Boxing.com (@ausboxing) June 5, 2017
“Yes, I’ve had some talks with Rob Whittaker’s manager and he is open to it. It would be the biggest fight we could make in Australia from a pay-per-view, publicity and credibility point of view. “
“Jai is now Australia’s only boxing world champion and Rob is a UFC star who is acknowledged as one of the toughest fighters the world has ever seen, so it’s a fight that would be of interest.” Lonergan said.
Lonergan also explained that both Whittaker and Opetaia knew each other and had a sparring session together back in the days.
“They have sparred in the past and if the finances are right for both guys, Whittaker’s management indicated that Rob would definitely be keen on it.” Lonergan added.
Even though both sides have shown great interest, the deal hasn’t been signed and they’re still in discussion for it.
If it’s eventually confirmed, they planned to have the showdown to be held in March next year.