Yoel Romero will indeed be next for UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker after his big knockout victory against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221. That’s despite the big Cuban coming in nearly three pounds overweight for his fight in Perth, Australia and making him ineligible for the interim middleweight belt. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed the situation with UFC president Dana White.
Asked Dana White if plan is to have Yoel Romero fight Robert Whittaker next, despite the fact he didn't win an interim title tonight.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 11, 2018
Romero absolutely crushed Rockhold in the third round of their semi-interim title fight, finishing the former middleweight champ with a big uppercut to stop the action at 1:48. Now he’ll get a chance to avenge a decision loss against Whittaker he took at UFC 213 back in July of 2017, a fight he nearly won early on before fatigue set in allowin Whittaker to take over. All three judges scored that fight 48-47 with Whittaker taking the back three rounds.
UFC 221 saw a more composed Romero taking care not to blow out his gas tank, but whether he can last five rounds (especially when being forced to actually make 185 pounds) remains to be seen. No date has been set for the Romero vs. Whittaker rematch, but Whittaker is already back to training following separate bouts of staph and chickenpox that forced him off UFC 221.