Wait, sorry, that’s not right. What I meant is, he beat Rockhold (16-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who would have been the new UFC interim middleweight champion if he had won, but because Romero (13-2 MMA, 9-1 UFC) missed weight for the bout he doesn’t actually get the hardware.
So what does he get, aside from one of the more brutal knockout victories in recent memory? Well, according to UFC President Dana White, he still gets a title shot.
And since that’s the main value of an interim title in the first place – it functions as a sort of token that can be exchanged for a crack at the actual title at a date to be named later – it sure seems like the extra weight didn’t hurt his career prospects any.
So now Romero will fight champ Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC), who used to be the interim champ before the actual champ vacated the title, at which point Whittaker was promoted literally without a fight.
Except then he got hurt and sick and sick some more, so the UFC decided to create another interim title out of thin air. But Romero missed weight, and then nearly decapitated Rockhold, and so now the interim belt goes back into the supply closet while the actual interim period remains unchanged.
There, now you’re all caught up. Any questions? You know, aside from all the obvious ones?
Somehow, the end result is that things are right back where they started last summer, with Romero and Whittaker set to face off to determine who the world’s best middleweight is.
What’s funny is, that’s just as plausible a proposition now as it was then. When Whittaker and Romero fought for the interim title at UFC 213 last July, Michael Bisping was the real champ even though many suspected that the winner of Whittaker-Romero was closer to the real thing.
Whittaker won that fight, Bisping was subsequently put to sleep, and then when Whittaker pulled out of his fight with Rockhold due to a combination of a staph infection and the chickenpox, it gave Romero the chance to journey down under and eliminate the only other viable contender for the crown.
If you want to find out who the best 185-pound fighter in the world is, what else can you do now but a rematch? And if we didn’t care that it lacked a “real” title last time, who cares if there’s only one belt on the poster this time?
The lineage of the UFC middleweight title might have gotten all twisted up in the last year, but the end result is the same two guys fighting for the same claim to total supremacy. It was a lot of violent fun the last time it happened. There’s no reason to think it’ll be any different the second time around.
- Yoel Romero thinks he suffered broken leg in UFC 221 victory over Luke Rockhold
- Luke Rockhold reacts to UFC 221 knockout loss: Yoel Romero 'made of steel'
- UFC 221 video highlights: Yoel Romero vs. Luke Rockhold
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Thanks to Yoel Romero's hellacious left hand, middleweight is right back where it started