Yoel Romero is still shooting his shot.
Last month it was revealed that Paulo Costa would be sidelined for several months with a bicep injury. Almost immediately after this information came out, former middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero began calling for a shot at newly minted champion Israel Adesanya. Adesanya, in turn, seemed excited about the possibility of facing Romero but UFC President Dana White, the third person necessary to get this party started, was less interested in the idea. That hasn’t stopped Romero from trying to force the UFC’s hand though.
Speaking recently with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Romero renewed his calls for a title shot, saying that this is the fight the fans want to see.
“I’m staying ready for the fight because I’m still hungry,” Romero said. “I want this fight to happen because many people talk, ‘Who is the true [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 has the belt, the people want to see who is the real champion.”
Romero went on to say that when the news about Costa broke, the UFC called his manager to discuss potentially having him step in. Ultimately though, it seems like Dana White has decided Romero is a tough sell as a title challenger since Romero is coming off of two losses in a row, and has lost three of his last four fights. But Romero says that’s nonsense. His last three losses have all been by decision, two of which were highly controversial. Romero says he doesn’t consider those to be true losses and that anyone who watched the fights honestly would agree with him. “The Soldier of God” believes only three people have beaten him in the UFC: the judges.
“The people see that I am losing three fight. Yes, I’m losing three fight,” Romero said. “But when you ask them, inside their soul, ‘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 career. But it’s not my day. 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.’
“I stay in the sport for a long time. I know the code for the sport, the real sport. I am the real sportsman. The day when I lose, I say I lose. The day when I lose in the Olympic game, I lose. Everybody ask me, ‘You’re a loser?’ Yes, I lose it. Somebody beat me. But right now, nobody beat me in the UFC. Maybe three people. The last fight, no Paulo Costa. Maybe three people. [Referring to the judges]. Everybody knows what I’m talking about.”
Should Romero be able to convince the UFC to give him a title shot, he would be facing an opponent who has actually never lost in the UFC. Israel Adesanya is coming off a dominant performance over Robert Whittaker - the man who has given Romero two of those “not” losses - knocking out the then-champion in the second round. But Romero says the Bobby Knuckles Adesanya faced is a far cry from the one he himself spent 50 minutes fighting.
“I have a big respect for Robert Whittaker, but he’s not the same,” Romero said. “You know, when you have many injuries, when you have damage in your body, one day the damage eats your soul or your spirit when you go to fight. I know Rob is a real warrior, a real fighter, but you need to know when you stay ready. You need to listen to your body. I know he wants to fight because inside he’s a warrior but he’s not the same. You can see his punches... You can see the eyes when he goes down... His body is not the same. The body for Rob is damaged.”
Romero did hurt Whittaker a number of times over the course of their two fights, but at the end of the day, the judges’ scorecards did not come back favorably for him. And that’s really the rub of it all. But again, Romero thinks the judges were obviously wrong and, moreover, he believes Adesanya knows it too which is why he believes the fight will ultimately get booked.
“Israel is not sleeping,” Romero concluded. “When he goes to bed and sleep, he says, ‘I need to fight this guy. I need to fight him because I need in myself, I need in my spirit, in my soul to say I am the world champion.’ Because he knows. The real champ in middleweight, everybody knows who it is...
“Israel, push. I’ll see you soon, boy.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Thanks and congrats on all your success, you are a beast! https://t.co/17xa11J2Ci— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) November 18, 2019
Congratulations to the man who got me into MMA on a hell of a career. Cheers to you @Benaskren ! Thanks for guiding me in the right direction as a wrestling coach, my influencer into fighting, and always giving me business advice. All the best in your next venture. #ufc #funkyben— Corey Anderson UFC (@CoreyA_MMA) November 19, 2019
Call it confirmed.
Just had a very productive meeting with the boss man @danawhite and Hunter Campbell @ufc. Excited to get back to work. Big news coming soon . #UNCROWNDEDCHAMP #thepredator #Francis2020 pic.twitter.com/uTzeK0StnC— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) November 19, 2019
Man’s got jokes.
Nice! So we finally fighting? Let’s go can’t wait LFG! https://t.co/2wIKCisDdg— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) November 19, 2019
Hell of a picture.
The GOAT never sleeps.
I need your wins, you need my exposure, we both need our families fed. I hear Florida is nice in February. Lets go @BrutalBedford !— Artem Lobov (@RusHammerMMA) November 18, 2019
Every night I crave junk food and can’t sleep. I wanna give into temptation but I always just sit here scrolling. Don’t even wanna sleep but people wanna work out so early and I don’t wanna get up till noon. I also don’t want a regular job Lol #Sacrifices— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) November 19, 2019
Derrick Lewis (22-7) vs. Ilir Latifi (14-7); UFC 247, Feb. 8.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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