Throughout the recent history of mixed martial arts, few fighters have been as feared as Yoel Romero. The man known as the ‘Soldier of God’ is, to this day, still an absolute freak of nature – even at the age of 45.
The veteran has been through some absolute wars in his career and the majority of them, at least in MMA, took place in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Romero came close to capturing the middleweight title on four separate occasions which included two classics against Robert Whittaker, as well as a meeting with Israel Adesanya in March 2020.
The two fought in the final big UFC event before the pandemic hit and while we were promised a war, that wasn’t exactly what we got as Adesanya edged out a drab unanimous decision win.
During a recent interview, Romero refuted claims from ‘Stylebender’ that the poor showing was mostly his fault.
Video: Yoel Romero hits back at Israel Adesanya
“He called me [out], right? He’s like, ‘OK, nobody wants to face the beast. I want to face the beast. Not only do I want to face the beast, I want retire him.’ And then I got excited. I was like OK, this is going to be one hell of a fight. Let’s go. You want the beast? You’ll get the beast. So then I go up, I get ready for the fight, I’m ready to stand in the middle of the octagon right there — and I do, I stand up in the middle of the octagon ready to brawl, ready for blood to be shed and for fans to see a true all-out war. Right?
“But what happened? He starts to fight and he feels my power, and all of a sudden, what? He starts running away from me. I’m not going to start chasing after you.
“That’s not what I’m going to do. The UFC was pampering him, was pampering Izzy, and basically I guess what they wanted was for me to go running after him. No, I’m not going to do that. If he was intimidated and didn’t want to exchange punches with me, that’s on him, not on me.”
Back to the battlefield
Yoel Romero will return to action tomorrow night to face Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 285, whereas Israel Adesanya will defend his belt against Alex Pereira at UFC 281 in November.