Robert Whittaker believes his speed and stamina will be too much for Paulo Costa when the pair meet in the UFC 298 co-main event.

UFC 298, set to take place on February 17th at the Honda Centre California, with a Featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria serving as main event.

Talking to Megan Anderson for ESPN MMA, Whittaker admitted as much as he knows how dangerous Costa is, he does not believe that the Brazilian has the skillset to beat him. He said:

“I’d like to think (I match up against him) very well. I’d like to lean on my speed, on the accuracy of my shots, I’d like to move him around and just be too much for him over 15 minutes. I do understand the threat be poses, his heavy hands and his heavy kicks, he’s a big strong guy so I am going to have to take this fight with a level of gravity, but I do believe I am better than him.”

It has been somewhat of an unorthodox camp for the number three ranked Middleweight, having to juggle the demands that come when preparing for a bout, with his wife giving birth. When asked about how he has found splitting his time between, Whittaker expressed that it was tiring, before quickly quipping that he knows it has been much more difficult for his wife, Sofia, than himself. He joked:

“I can’t speak about this too much because everyone is just going to hammer me in the comments but training around the baby’s birth, going from the hospital, to sparring, to the hospital again, it was hard – it was a hard week. I was tired okay, I understand Sofia was the one having the baby but I was tired too, it was tricky.”

This will be the former champion’s first contest back since suffering a defeat at the hands of Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290. Discussing his training camp leading into UFC 290, Whittaker acknowledged that things didn’t go entirely to plan.

“Yeah you know, I was disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed as much in the loss as I was, just because I didn’t turn up. I didn’t turn up and I didn’t perform at the ability I could have and that eats away at me. So, from that fight we went away, we looked at what we liked, what we did not like and I pretty much dove straight back into training. 

“The problem is, is that hindsight is always 20/20. So we looked at the last camp and there were a lot of things I was not happy with last camp. There were a lot of obstacles during the camp that I probably should have handled differently. Like I said, hindsight is 20/20, I wanted to fight, I hadn’t fought in a long time, time pressures of wanting to get a fight under my belt before the end of the year. It is what it was but it was important for me to recognise that and just get back into training, don't reinvent the wheel and just put the work in.

Assessing his last performance, the Australian revealed nothing the now-champion done in the octagon surprised him and that mentally he felt he had the edge, but his body let him down. 

“I remember feeling it in there, mentally I had his number, I could feel it but my body just did not perform the way I wanted it to, it let me down. The result is what it was.”

You can see the full interview, here: