Robert Whittaker: 'Israel should be very worried' about fight

Whittaker: Adesanya 'did just enough in round 5' vs. Gastelum (1:26)

Robert Whittaker is impressed with Israel Adesanya's victory vs. Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236. (1:26)

The latest episode of Ariel Helwani's MMA Show (1 p.m. ET Monday, live on Twitter) featured a former champion breaking down PED use in the sport, two top middleweights trading shots at each other and an Olympic gold medalist wrestler discussing a possible transition into fighting.

Here's what you might have missed:

Whittaker sees holes in Adesanya's game

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and interim champion Israel Adesanya are expected to meet later this year to unify the belt. Whittaker, appearing on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show on Monday, said the matchup will be the "biggest combat sports event in the Australian/New Zealand market," with more than 55,000 people watching in person.

Adesanya, coming off a huge decision win against Kelvin Gastelum this past weekend at UFC 236, looked every bit the potential superstar many peg him to be. Whittaker, however, wasn't as impressed.

The Australian said he noticed many problems that weren't taken advantage of by Gastelum. "If you watch the fight, you can see that the holes that were there every fight before, they just got exposed bigger," Whittaker said. "There are a lot of things that Gastelum exploited, and there were a lot of things Gastelum could have exploited but couldn't because of his makeup, because of his striking style, because of his height and reach."

Adesanya has not lost in 18 professional fights and has won six UFC bouts in the last 14 months. Whittaker, who claimed the belt against Yoel Romero in July 2017, is on a nine-fight win streak.

Whittaker believes that will continue when they meet later in 2019. He said he looks forward to taking advantage of the fact that Adesanya simply "doesn't like getting hit. And he's very hittable."

"Israel should be very worried," Whittaker told Helwani. "If he can weather the storm and take my shots for five rounds and counter and do everything he did with Gastelum, then congratulations to him. But I don't think he's going to.

"I'm a different fighter than Gastelum. I bring much more heat. I hit harder. I hit faster. I'm going to come with a new level of intensity that he's not used to."

Two years on Cruz control?

"Two years really is nothing."

You're not going to find a less-hot take on TJ Dillashaw's PED suspension than what fellow ex-UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz offered up on the Helwani show. Cruz should know, being the world's leading expert on absences from the Octagon. His have been injury-related -- from a broken arm and shoulder surgery that have sidelined him since he dropped the 135-pound belt in December 2016 to his five years spent mostly on the shelf healing from ACL surgeries before he took the title from Dillashaw in January 2016.

"All that's going to happen is TJ Dillashaw is going to take two years, raise his kid, probably be a good father to his kid, probably be better to his family," said Cruz, an analyst on UFC fight night broadcasts and co-host of the Unlocking Victory preview show on ESPN. "He's going to heal up. Who knows what he's going to do in this off time? Who knows how much healthier, how much better he gets? Who knows if he fills in gaps [in his skills]? I honestly think that when TJ Dillashaw comes back, he's going to be better than he was when he left."

Cruz rejects the notion that time out of the cage is a setback.

"I'm more happy. I'm more sharp. I'm better than I've ever been as a human being," he said. "So to say injuries were unfortunate luck would be completely wrong. Completely."

His teaching moment for TJ and his idle time?

"If anything," he said, "it's a gift if you use it right."

Olympic gold medalist wants one MMA fight

Could another star wrestler be headed to MMA? It sure sounds that way.

Jordan Burroughs, who claimed the gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2012 Olympics, told Helwani on Monday that his biggest goal is to wrestle for the United States in the 2020 games. But he also has his sights set on another accomplishment: mixed martial arts.

Burroughs has noticed the success of wrestlers who have made the transition -- including UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and top contender Ben Askren, all Olympians -- and thinks he can do the same.

"I just want to fight one time. That's it," Burroughs said. "For me, it's not about the status, not about the glory, not about the money. I just want to throw my hands and see what I'm made of. Wrestlers and fighters have that same fighting spirit. It's such a beautiful art form in which you can implement strategy in order to subdue another individual. I really feel like wrestling and the UFC collaborate in that way.

"I think every wrestler has thought about it for a period of time. I'm so comfortable with my identity as a wrestler that if I never fought, it wouldn't bother me one bit. But I'm also such a competitor that I've considered it for a long period of time."

The great debate of MMA rages on: Is an interim champion a real champion?

American Top Team's Mike Brown thinks so, especially in the case of the fighter he coaches, Dustin Poirier.

"To me, it feels like a world title because he beat a world champion," Brown told Helwani, referring to Saturday's interim lightweight belt-winning victory over featherweight champ Max Holloway.

Poirier soon should have an opportunity to quiet any doubters when he steps in with unbeaten 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. It's a fight that Brown, for one, has been thinking about for a long time.

"I've always thought about how Dustin is going to match up with this guy because he was going to the top, and [Khabib] was going to be there," said Brown, a former WEC featherweight champ. "We'll be ready. It's a different puzzle. It's an exciting puzzle."

There'll be a puzzle awaiting Nurmagomedov in the cage, too.

"Dustin's got a lot of weapons," Brown said. "He's dangerous on the feet, he's dangerous on the ground, but most importantly, he's in there for five [rounds]. He's going to go a hard five.

"Twenty-five minutes is a long time to be in there with Dustin. He's going to get to you at one point. That's a long time to be dodging his bullets."