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Yoel Romero open to moving up, challenging Daniel Cormier: ‘Why not?’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

CHICAGO — A battle of legendary wrestlers and former Olympians? Yoel Romero wouldn’t turn it down.

During a Q&A on Wednesday at UFC 225 open workouts, a fan asked Romero how he’d feel about moving up to challenge Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title in the future. Romero replied that he’d do it.

Of course, in order for that to make any sense Romero would have to beat Robert Whittaker to win the UFC middleweight title here at United Center on Saturday. There are certainly contenders Romero would have to deal with and Cormier’s time in the sport is running out. But the story of that fight would tell itself.

Romero, 41, was a silver medalist in freestyle wrestling in the 2000 Summer Olympics and finished in fourth place in 2004. Cormier, 39, also came in fourth place in 2004 and in 2008 he was Team USA captain, but could not compete because he had kidney failure due to a bad weight cut.

“Why not?” Romero in his media scrum said of fighting Cormier. “That’s my job and a job for [UFC president] Dana [White], too. [Cormier and I] have a good relationship for a long time. It’s like in wrestling. I can wrestle with him, it’s no problem. I can wrestle with him and after that I go eat lunch or something with him. Why not?”

Romero is coming off a knockout victory over Luke Rockhold and at UFC 220 in January. That would have been an interim middleweight title fight, but Romero missed weight. He promised Wednesday that he was on point this week and had no fear about coming in heavy again. Against Rockhold, Romero said he had to fly to Australia on short notice — Whittaker was Rockhold’s original opponent — and that led to the weight miss.

“That’s my division for 21 years,” Romero said of 185. “I never don’t make weight. That’s the first time.”

“Soldier of God” didn’t do a traditional workout Wednesday at Chicago Theatre, rather having a question-and-answer session with fans. Romero said he just got his medicals done, including an eye exam and his eyes were dilated, so he didn’t feel well enough to do a workout. Romero wore sunglasses during the Q&A and his media scrum.

Romero (13-2), despite his advanced age, said he does not think about retirement and he credits his uncanny longevity to taking care of his body — no partying, eating clean, etc.

“That’s God,” Romero said. “God blessed me. I help God, too. God gave me the power and [speed]. If i go to the streets, I eat everything [it would disrespect God]. I give the blessings to God, because you have to respect God.”

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