Cuban freestyle-wrestler, Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero, continues his search for a crack at middleweight gold against Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya, as the veteran attempts to leapfrog the injured Paulo Costa and battle in his fourth scheduled title tilt for the organization.
The Florida based finisher has traded verbals with reigning 185-pound king Adesanya in recent weeks, and despite dropping a Fight of the Night to the aforementioned Costa in August, the 42-year-old believes the fans are eager to see himself and Nigerian-Kiwi kickboxing talent Adesanya share the Octagon next. Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday evening, the Pinar del Rio fan-favorite explained his reasoning why he should shoehorn his way into title contention, after promotion President Dana White flipped his decision on possibly matching Romero in a title-eliminator first.
“I’m staying ready for the fight (against Adesanya) because I am still hungry,” Romero said to ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani. “I want this fight to happen because many people talk ‘who is the true (middleweight champion)? Who is the real champion of middleweight?’ And the people know who it is because everybody has seen what happened the last three fights before. Now Israel (Adesanya) has the belt, people want to see who is the true champion.”
Romero, who has featured in three scheduled title bouts during his close to seven year stint in the UFC, has lost three of his last four outings, with rematches with former champion Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker and Paulo Costa proving somewhat dubious in decision defeats one could argue could be awarded to either party.
The Olympic silver-medalist has a hugely impressive professional record given his late entry to the sport, picking up victories over the likes of Ronaldo Souza, Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold, all former world champions. Despite recent form, Romero noted the razor-thin nature surrounding his most recent defeats as reasoning why he shouldn’t necessarily be overlooked by the promotion in favor of another title challenger.
“The people see I am losing three fights. Yes , I am losing three fights. But when you ask them inside their souls, ‘Did Yoel Romero lose?’ Yoel Romero did not lose. Yoel Romero is still the winner. Now you see what happened, the people want to see the really best people fight. Who is the best middleweight right now? I fight everybody, the best people in my division, the best fighters, and beat them. I not lose. I beat everyone. I feel like the day when i lose, I’m ready for the day when I lose because everybody have the beginning and everybody have the end of their careers. But it’s not my day (to retire). I’m still training, I’m still hungry. The day when it comes and I lose i say, ‘Okay, today I lose it because it is what it is.”
Israel Adesanya, recently achieved middleweight champion status via a second round stoppage of the previously mentioned Whittaker in Melbourne, and was widely expected to meet Brazilian nemesis Costa in April of 2020, until a bicep injury which required surgery forced the undefeated ‘Borrachinha’ from the pairing. As of yet, it is unaware if the promotion will book Adesanya vs. Romero, with both parties seemingly gunning for the matchup. If not, we can expect Romero to be matched up in a number-one contender bout with possibly Darren Till, or surging middleweight bruiser, Jared Cannonier in the meantime.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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