Yoel Romero went through a brutal weight for UFC 225 and, despite his best efforts, the Cuban still hit the scales .2 lbs overweight and was forced to forfeit 20 percent of his purse to Robert Whittaker.
Despite pushing himself to the brink of exhaustion at Friday’s weigh-ins, ‘Soldier of God’ showed no signs of fatigue in the UFC 225 main event and almost finished ‘The Reaper’ in the later rounds.
Speaking to GrangeTV in a recent interview, reigning champion Whittaker said it felt like Romero was ‘superhuman’ come fight night and questioned how the former Olympian was able to rehydrate so effectively.
“Whatever he’s hydrating on, I would like to know so I can also hydrate on that,” Whittaker said, per BJPenn.com’s Tom Taylor. “Because it turns you superhuman, just about.”
Despite Romero’s best efforts, Whittaker, 27, defended his middleweight title and walked away with a split decision win at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Whittaker had already beat Romero back in 2017, but the New Zealander says his opponent was a completely different animal in the championship rematch.
Echoing Luke Rockhold’s sentiments, Whittaker says it felt like Romero was made of ‘concrete’.
“When I was punching and kicking him [at UFC 225] he felt like metal — like a dude made out of concrete, it was a ridiculous,” Whittaker said. “I fought him a year ago, and he didn’t feel like concrete. Not like that.”
“He’s a tough guy, and like I said before, he’s a top caliber athlete,” Whittaker continued. “But for him to come back the way he did, and for him to feel so differently and to perform so differently than he did a year ago — cause let’s not forget, I have fought him before. I’ve experienced his shots, I’ve experienced landing shots on him, I’ve experience fighting 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.”
With the win, Whittaker, who is the only fighter to beat Romero under the UFC banner, extended his win streak to nine and moved up two spots to No. 11 in the official pound-for-pound rankings.