Two recent UFC title fights that were announced as close to being finalized were Henry Cejudo vs Jose Aldo and Israel Adesanya vs Yoel Romero. Interestingly enough, both those two challengers are coming off two straight losses.
Ahead of UFC 246, Dana White tried to justify giving title shots to those two fighters.
“That’s the fight that both of those guys want, so hopefully we get that done,” White told the assembled media prior to UFC 246. “A lot of people thought Jose Aldo won, a lot of people think he didn’t. The night of the fight, Henry Cejudo hit me up and said ‘Aldo won that fight. That’s bullshit.’ He wants that fight.
“Israel Adesanya wants to fight Yoel Romero. How does that make sense? It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “You know what makes sense? Israel Adesanya is such a badass, that he wants to fight the guy that nobody wants to fight. Costa, the guy he’s supposed to fight, is hurt, but we can make a couple of months. He doesn’t want to wait. He wants to fight one of the baddest dudes ever, in the history of the division... (Adesanya) feels like his legacy will not be fulfilled if he doesn’t fight him. That’s badass! I’m in!
“Does that make sense in any way shape or form for my business? No. Is Yoel Romero the easiest guy in the world to deal with? No! The list goes on and on, but who gives a shit? That’s incredible. I’m in!”
Romero is coming off two losses, and has dropped three of his last four to Costa and Robert Whittaker twice. The 42-year-old Cuban’s last win was an interim championship bout against Luke Rockhold in 2018 — a title shot he also received after coming off a loss — but he missed weight and was ineligible to win the belt.
As White mentioned, the rightful number one middleweight contender in Paulo Costa is injured. Whittaker, who just lost to Adesanya, also recently pulled out of his return bout at UFC 248 as well. There’s a case for either Jared Cannonier or Darren Till to be more deserving of a title shot, but they’re rumored to be facing each other, and Romero is at least ranked higher than both those fighters.
The same can’t be said for Aldo, who has lost two in a row, including five of his last eight bouts, and currently sits as the eighth ranked bantamweight. His debut at 135 lbs was close and competitive, but he officially dropped a split decision loss to Marlon Moraes.
Aldo is a former featherweight champ with name value, but he’s leapfrogging two top ranked — and healthy — bantamweights in Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan that are both on incredible runs.