Many would agree that UFC 248’s main event title bout between Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero turned out to be a lackluster fight. Even “The Last Stylebender” himself admitted that it was the “weirdest” and “most boring” contest he ever involved himself in.
For some fighters, such a performance would likely hurt their stock. But for Daniel Cormier, even such a stinker wouldn’t affect the star power of someone like Adesanya.
“I think that he can be as big a star as you have in the UFC,” Cormier said on a recent episode of the Rich Eisen Show (transcript by MMA Fighting). “Some guys just have it. Like you said, it just radiates off of him. You just see it. From the moment he walks to the octagon, he officially marked his territory. You saw a young kid who had never done anything, become a champion in like a year.
“That doesn’t happen very often in the UFC and I think this was just one of those nights. Anderson Silva, it did not really affect his legacy having that fight in Saudi Arabia (at UFC 112) and I think that’s going to be the case with Izzy. He’s just going to move forward and his next fight is guaranteed to deliver because the guy he’s fighting, Paulo Costa, has never been in a fight like you saw Izzy have last week.”
UFC president Dana White credited Adesanya for fighting a “smart” fight, which Cormier agrees with.
“When you fight Yoel Romero, a guy that has knocked out so many people, a guy that has really fought in that same exact way but finds ways to end fights with one action, you cannot think that Izzy would just go in there and be reckless,” he said. “I’ve never seen anyone do it. He did what he had to do.
“This guy’s the champion. He’s a guy that if you’re willing to engage, he’ll give you your type of fight. But Yoel Romero’s not a guy that you want to be out there being reckless with. He’s just too dangerous. The risk is not worth the danger.”
Adesanya likely defends his title against Paulo Costa next. As for Romero, his management is willing to accept a “gatekeeper” status for the time being.