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UFC 221: Luke Rockhold will beat up Yoel Romero because that’s what a champion does

UFC 221 Perth Workouts Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images

After Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was forced out of his first-ever title defense against Luke Rockhold — which was set to go down at UFC 221 on Feb. 11, 2018 in Perth, Australia — Luke was then pegged to face off against Yoel Romero for the interim strap on the same card.

While not the best situation for all parties involved, Rockhold is taking the news in stride and making the most of his chance at reclaiming the 185-pound title, even if it is on an interim basis.

“It’s not an ideal situation, obviously, I am going across the world to fight a guy I could fight down the street,” said Luke on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. “I wanted Whitaker, have wanted that fight for a long time and it was a good time to make it happen, but he’s got health issues.”

While nothing official has been given as a reason for Robert’s withdrawal, “The Reaper” released a statement revealing he was deemed medically unfit to compete. Luke, meanwhile, knows it has to be something big to sideline a tough man like Whittaker.

“I wish him the best, I know he’s not a man to run away from anything, I respect that kid, I wish him the best and hope it’s not too serious.”

As for booking a fight rather quickly against Romero, Luke says it was really the only viable option, and says despite the late switch in foes, he plans on getting the job done “Down Under” all the same.

“Yoel was the option off the back and I am ready to fight. As long as the money is right and the belt is on the line; I had a good conversation with Hunter Campbell and we worked out a situation,” he said. “We have an interim belt, it’s a good situation. Yoel is as tough as they come, no one beats Yoel unless you’re a champion. That’s what I am and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Rockhold was very adamant about having a path presented to him that would lead to the 185-pound belt, so winning an interim strap is next best thing given the situation. As far as the matchup, Rockhold says Romero simply isn’t as tight in his MMA game as Whittaker, which will leave many openings for him to take advantage of.

“Yoel has more holes to expose in his game. I think Whittaker is tighter and is harder to get to, where as Yoel will kind of leave himself open. Similar fights, but I like this matchup,” he concluded.

Fair assessment?

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