Robert Whittaker: Mutual respect with Michael Bisping – but ‘no mercy’ in title-unifier

LAS VEGAS – Michael Bisping may have already begun his fight-hyping antics, but don’t expect Robert Whittaker to play along.

After a gritty, come-from-behind unanimous-decision win over Yoel Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 213 pay-per-view headliner, Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) was awarded the middleweight division’s interim belt. Which, at least for now, means he’s next in line to meet undisputed champ Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC).

Bisping was at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena to witness the new champ’s crowning in the night’s substitute headliner. And, of course, he couldn’t leave without at least some theatrics – in this case, a rather puzzling belt throw. But if the champ has any plans of getting under Whittaker’s skin, he might be in for a frustrating ride.

“I haven’t gotten any bad vibes from Michael,” Whittaker said after UFC 213. “He hasn’t done anything crazy to try to get in my face. I think he respects me, as well. He is who he is. And he’s going to do what he’s going to do. And I’m just going to be me.

“I go into the fight with the same amount of respect for every athlete. And I’m going to be me in that fight. I’m going to be me on the media. Outside the fight, I’m going

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