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Dana White says UFC looking to book Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero in 2020

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Dana White says Israel Adesanya’s first title defense will be against Yoel Romero.

With top middleweight contender Paulo Costa on the sidelines for the foreseeable future, it’s looking like Israel Adesanya’s first middleweight title defense will be against Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero, as UFC president Dana White revealed earlier this week that the UFC is looking to book the matchup as soon as possible.

“We’re looking at Yoel Romero. (Adesanya) wants that fight. He wants to fight Yoel Romero. Nobody wants to fight Yoel Romero. Nobody’s screaming, ‘I want to fight Yoel Romero.’ He is,” White said in a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto (h/t BJPenn.com).

White went on to state the the UFC has a date in mind for the middleweight title bout but wouldn’t reveal any specifics.

“Yeah (we have a date), but we’re not announcing it yet.”

It’s speculated that Adesanya vs. Romero will headline UFC 248, which is set to take place next year, March 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Adesanya KO’d Robert Whittaker to capture the middleweight title earlier this year at UFC 243, extending his professional record to a perfect 18-0. His opponent, 42-year-old Romero, is on a two-fight losing streak but is still considered one of the most dangerous contenders in the middleweight division. The Cuban powerhouse’s only losses in the UFC come to former champ Robert Whittaker and undefeated contender ‘Borrachinha’, both of whom are ranked in the top three.