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Morning Report: Robert Whittaker on Yoel Romero’s ‘superhuman’ traits: I’m leaving that down to nothing more than magic

robert whittaker Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 225, Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero fought to a contentious split decision, but the controversy wasn’t just about the outcome of the fight. Romero missed weight for the bout, coming in .2 pounds over the contracted limit. But despite the fact that the weight cut was clearly hard on him, Romero showed no ill effects inside the cage, dropping Whittaker and nearly finishing the fight on several occasions. Now, Whittaker wants in on whatever secrets Romero has to recover from bad weight cuts, because the middleweight champion says Romero’s recovery was “superhuman.”

“Whatever Romero’s rehydration program is, I would like to get on that because he looked huge,” Whittaker told GrangeTV recently. “He looked massive from the skeleton I saw the day before and him missing [weight] and looking like he was going to die, to him hopping back in that octagon, it was like two different guys. And taking head shots like, I hit him a lot and he was able to just walk through those shots.

“Whatever he’s hydrating on, I would like to know so that I can also hydrate on that because it turns you superhuman just about. When I was punching and kicking him, he felt like metal, like a dude made out of concrete. I was ridiculous. I fought him a year ago, and he didn’t feel like concrete.”

Romero has had a reputation as a physical and athletic freak dating all the way back to his wrestling career, but at the age of 41, most would expect the Olympic silver medalist to begin slowing down at some point. Instead, Romero has looked better than ever in recent bouts and, despite a hard weight cut and his advanced age, still walked through heavy shots from the champion. For Whittaker, there is only one viable explanation for how Romero could somehow be in even better shape for their rematch: magic.

“I’m pretty sure I hit hard,” Whittaker said. “You can ask all my other opponents if I hit hard. I’ve stopped dudes that don’t get stopped and - I don’t know. He’s a top caliber athlete but for him to come back the way he did and for him to feel so differently and perform so differently than he did a year ago - let’s not forget, I have fought him before, I have experienced his shots, I’ve experienced landing shots on him, I’ve fought him before. For him to make those changes physically and athletically in a year, at the age of 41, I’m leaving that down to nothing more than magic, honestly. I can’t see you jumping on a special diet filled with kale and good fruits and then performing like him.

“Everything I did was in the game plan and it worked successfully. The only thing we didn’t count on was one, breaking my right hand, and two, him being Robocop. You can’t account for that. He’s a tough dude and he took a lot of shots. I’ve hit guys much less than that and they don’t stay in the fight, and they’re all tough dudes.”

Whittaker and Romero have now fought each other for 50 minutes, producing two Fight of the Year candidates, and many fans are clamoring for a third tilt, especially given the controversial scoring in their most recent bout. But Whittaker isn’t too keen on the idea of having to face “Robocop” again after having two in the win column over him. The champion says he’s on to other things and that if Romero wants another crack at him, he’ll have to pull some more magic out of his hat.

“Why would I fight someone again after beating him twice?” Whittaker asked. “Surely the point has been made. And he didn’t make weight the second time. That’s not to say that if he works his way up and beats the top contenders again that I won’t have to fight him because my whole thing is that I have to fight the biggest dude, the dude who is cleaning out the division and fought his way up to the number one spot. But I’ve now beaten him twice. He’d have to do something special to get a third shot.”


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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2005: The quarterfinal round of the Pride middleweight grand prix took place with Ricardo Arona, Wanderlei Silva, Alistair Overeem, and Mauricio Rua all advancing. Rua’s win was particularly notable as his fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was considered by many to be the Fight of the Year for 2005.

2010: Fabricio Werdum became the first man to beat Fedor Emelianenko without controversy when he tapped “The Last Emperor” with a triangle choke at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum. That night, Cris Cyborg also defended her featherweight title against Jan Finney, scoring a second round TKO.

2011: At UFC on Versus 4, Cheick Kongo authored one of the most spectacular comebacks in UFC history, knocking out Pat Barry after Barry had him dead to rights. The knockout earned both KO of the Year and Comeback of the Year honors.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Hope y’all enjoyed the new MMA Hour. There will be an adjustment period, but we’re all pretty excited about where it’s going.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Do you think Whittaker should fight Romero again?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Yes
    (382 votes)
  • 75%
    No
    (1154 votes)
1536 votes total Vote Now

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