Yoel Romero is a man on a mission after Bellator 285, and that’s to capture a middleweight title that’s so far eluded him in his decorated cage career.
After decimating Melvin Manhoef, a blown-up middleweight, in the co-headliner of this past Friday’s event, Romero made his intentions clear by calling for a title shot.
“Right now, I think all the 205 [fighters], they can chill out – they don’t have to worry about anything,” Romero told reporters after the event at 3Arena in Dublin. “I think we’re going to make the move to 185 now.”
After his release from the UFC, Romero signed with Bellator to re-start his career as a light heavyweight, a division long thought to be ideal for his frame given several weight issues in high-profile octagon fights. Romero, a former Olympic silver medalist wrestler, lost shots at the interim and undisputed UFC middleweight titles when he came in heavy on the scale.
In addition to three straight losses, his last a snoozer against current champ Israel Adesanya at UFC 248, Romero’s prospects at 205 looked far better. After a setback out of the gate against ex-champ Phil Davis, he rebounded with a knockout of Alex Polizzi in his second Bellator outing.
This past Friday’s knockout win, a ground and pound stoppage that stiffened Manhoef and sent him into retirement, was another argument in favor of Romero’s new division.
“I knew exactly what his flaws were and what his strongpoints were,” Romero said of his win.
But the Cuban-born fighter isn’t ready to let go of his dream.
“Us Latins say, what we’ve got cooking is we’re really going to chase that title at 185,” he added.
The middleweight title is currently held by undefeated American Top Team product Johnny Eblen, who wrestled his way to a victory over two-time champ Gegard Mousasi at Belllator 282. Eblen’s next fight is not booked.
In a nod to the Dublin crowd that cheered him on, Romero said he’d like the opportunity to hoist the belt over the pond.
“If the opportunity does raise up for fighting at 185, and challenging for the title, I’d love for it to be here in Europe,” he said.