The middleweight title picture is shaping up rather nicely, as the next title fight seems to be official for this summer.
After Georges St-Pierre vacated the 185-pound title, interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was then promoted to undisputed champion. Whittaker was scheduled to make his first defense against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221.
Unfortunately Whittaker suffered a terrible illness that forced him out of the fight. Yoel Romero stepped in to face Rockhold for the interim middleweight title. Romero took the fight on short notice and was unable to make weight for the fight.
Therefore, Rockhold was the only eligible fighter in that fight to win the interim strap. Romero wound up winning the fight via third round knockout and was unable to win the interim strap - but guaranteed himself a shot at Whittaker's title next.
Romero has fought Whittaker before as they competed at UFC 213 for the then-interim middleweight title. Whittaker won that fight via unanimous decision in a close fight. Now the Cuban gets a shot to rectify that loss.
While its been expected that Romero and Whittaker will fight next, a date has never been officially announced. During a recent interview on The Joe Rogan Experience, Romero revealed he'll be fighting Whittaker on June 9th at UFC 225 on pay-per-view (PPV) (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“Let’s just wait until June 9th,” Romero said when asked how a rematch with Whittaker would look.
“After the [Whittaker] fight, my manager said that when he saw me I had a big smile on my face,” said Romero. “I was very happy.
"I didn’t take that loss as serious as I should have. [I was happy because] I learned. And now you see what happened with Luke Rockhold. I learned about timing.
“Listen, people talk about my ‘gas’ but it wasn’t easy to fight Luke Rockhold. I went to Albuquerque with Jon Jones and I learned something. They controlled my attacks, so I learned when to attack.
"If you go, go, go, you will get tired. So I had to learn to pace myself. I don’t have a problem with five rounds now.”
What are your thoughts on Romero saying that he's going to fight Whittaker at UFC 225 later this summer? Do you think that Romero has a good shot at beating the new middleweight champion this time around in their rematch? Or will Whittaker again emerge victorious a second time around after solving the Romero puzzle already? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!
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