UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya isn’t chasing an easy ride now that he is the organisation’s 185 pound champion.
‘The Last Stylebender’ has been near perfect since debuting with the UFC a little under two years ago, rising through the ranks with a series of dynamic performances which eventually earned him a title opportunity against Robert Whittaker. The then-champ was dispatched with relative comfort by the time that the second round had elapsed leaving some people scratching their heads as to where a robust challenge might be found for the division’s most impressive fighter.
Well, it turns out that Adesanya has some of his own thoughts on this matter.
Since he has become champion, he has been vocal in his desire to defend against Yoel Romero — a fighter who Adesanya considers to be one 0f the division’s toughest challenges — and confirmed to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on the Monday evening that the fight is done and is just awaiting official confirmation.
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“The fight’s done. Make no mistake, I’m still putting work in,” Adesanya stated. “I’m still getting ready for my second title defence against a veteran (Romero) of the game. A veteran in wrestling, a tough motherf***er, the boogeyman of the division. The guy nobody calls out.”
Romero, now 42, will enter the fight (if indeed it is confirmed) on the back of the first two-fight skid of his career. He was defeated by unanimous decision by Paulo Costa in a wild brawl last August but an injury suffered by the Brazilian shortly after ruled him out of what would likely have been his own title opportunity. Prior to that, Romero was beaten in a split decision by Robert Whittaker.
As for the when and where of the Adesanya vs. Romero clash, the Kiwi identified UFC 248 on March 7 from the T-Mobile Arena as the date and venue. Interestingly, that card is also set to feature Whittaker’s comeback against powerful 185 pounder Jared Cannonier.