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It might be starting quietly, but there’s something of a nice rivalry brewing between Israel Adesanya and UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.

Ever since the pair were booked as a double header to Melbourne’s UFC 234, and as such linked together in fan’s minds as a potential future fight, the two men have started eyeing each other in a different way.

And while words aren’t biting as such, it’s more the tone.

Case in point Whittaker’s recent comments that Adesanya isn’t as good as he thinks he is. There’s no out and out disrespect.. just a sense of man watching with his arms folded. And, in an interview with Submission Radio, it seems Adesanya has folded his arms right back.

“I don’t think of those comments and it doesn’t affect me in any way,” Adesanya said. “I mean, when the time comes, when I have the mic in my hand, I’m saying my thing. I’ll say, he thinks I’m not as good as I think I am, I’ll show him I’m greater than I think I am. So, they all can talk, they all have something to say until they’re in front of me, and they get chin checked.

“I’m not like Wonderboy. Even the way I fight, I’m not like Wonderboy, I’m not like anyone he’s ever fought that’s actually given him problems, depending on weight classes. I’m not like Yoel Romero. This is different. I’m still learning. You know, even though I’ve had so many fights in just one year, I’ve learned and I’ve grown with each fight, but it’s only been a year in the UFC. Don’t worry. They’re writing checks with their mouth right now, but their ass will cash it later on.”