Yoel Romero isn't getting the fight he and many fight enthusiasts believed he deserves with a bout against Michael Bisping for the UFC Middleweight championship.
Instead, he'll battle Robert Whittaker for the interim middleweight title at UFC 213 in Las Vegas. Bisping has been rehabbing from knee surgery and is not able to compete, though a rumored fight against Georges St. Pierre was floated recently.
That's since off the table, though, with "Rush" not coming to terms with UFC on his contract. Romero, meanwhile, was an after thought despite being the clear No. 1 contender for Bisping's belt. Now, he has a chance to solidify his position as next in line for "The Count."
Romero is maintaining his focus on the opportunity in front of him to take the next step toward Bisping and the belt. "The Soldier of God" isn't worried about waiting, instead happy to take on the challenge placed in front of him so he can continue waiting unchallenged.
“No, I take the interim belt, fight for the interim belt and then I wait for Mr. Bisping. I am not dissatisfied, I am okay. You have to have in your head that you have to go step-by-step, and my goal right now is to fight for the title and that’s what I am going for. I am going to get that title," Romero said on the latest edition of The MMA Hour.
The UFC is in a holding pattern across several divisions, which has led many to question the future of the company. The lack of a true headlining fight, and fallout from several cards, has dampened the momentum of Dana White's fighting machine.
Romero and Bisping would be one of those big fights, and Yoel admits he'd much rather be taking a bite out of the current champ than fighting for an interim title.
“It’s not one specific person. Now, the food would’ve probably tasted a bit better had it been against Bisping, and everybody knows why," Romero said.
Still, he isn't overlooking the opponent in front of him, who could be the last roadblock left for Romero to line up the fight he's been waiting for.
"[Whittaker] is a great athlete, he’s doing everything that he needs to do to become a greater fighter and the worst mistake any fighter can make in front of Whittaker, is to underestimate him. He is a great athlete," Romero said.
UFC 213 is a huge moment for Romero to prove he's the deal, with two of the top middleweight set to go blow-for-blow for a chance to win some real gold in the near future.
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