Over the past couple of years, middleweight has seen something of an exodus from the elite ranks of the division. Thiago Santos, Anthony Smith, Luke Rockhold, and Chris Weidman have all decided that their late career fighting future lies at light heavyweight. Alongside those men, one of the names often brought up as a potential next fighter to make the jump has been recent title contender Yoel Romero.
The former Olympian started his MMA career at 205, before dropping to middleweight for his UFC debut back in 2013. Now 42 - and somehow still apparently in his physical prime - it only seems natural that he may want to get away from the stress of cutting weight. In a recent media scrum ahead of his PPV fight against Paulo Costa at UFC 241, however, Romero made it clear that he’s not considering a move up in weight, at all.
“No is possible; it’s too much for me,” Romero explained. “When I’m training, no is possible that I fight to another division. Because, when I’m training, I stay 202-203... 200? When I’m training, I no have a problem with my weight. My weight is at 185.”
“No, It’s too much for me,” he reiterated when asked if it’d be an easier path to another title shot. “Because, the people cut weight and go up again. It’s too big for me. Because normally, when I’m training, 205-206, you know? But the people who go up, after the weigh in? These people are 220, 225. It’s too heavy. For me it’s too heavy.”
Unperturbed by his lack of interest in going up a division, however, members of the press asked Romero about how he thought he’d fare in a title fight against Jon Jones, given the opportunity. However, it seems that’s a fight that Romero would never consider taking—even if he wanted to go back to light heavyweight.
“The most important thing here is the relationship that I have with Johnny,” Romero said. “I have a big. Yes, very. I have a good relationship. That’d never happen. Never. Forget about it. I am a real man. I don’t care nothing about the show, something like this. I am the man, when I stand over there with a guy, I stand with a man in good times and in bad times. That’s me. Nah, I no fight you, because you’re my brother, you’re my friend. I no fight you for thousands, for millions. I no fight you. No, man. No no no no, I no can. Because tomorrow, how can I see the dirt in your face? How? You stayed at my house! That’s my concept.”
The two men met when Jones was training to take on Ovince St. Preux, back in 2016, and Romero was brought in to be a training partner for Jones. Apparently they’ve been fast friends ever since.
UFC 241 takes place this Saturday, August 17th, in Anaheim, CA. The even is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. Romero’s bout against Costa is planned for the PPV portion of the event. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and notes as fight night approaches.