Every step in Yoel Romero’s career has led to this. After a war with Robert Whittaker ended in a decision that halted Romero’s eight-fight win streak, fate seemed to favor the former Olympian. The title switches and changes have been almost as dizzying as the flying knees which Romero launches at unsuspecting opponents. Yet, here he is again fighting for an interim middleweight belt. Luke Rockhold and coaches have said the only thing that would lead to their defeat is a ‘lucky strike’, but it seems like luck is on the side of Yoel Romero.
“First of all [in response that Luke Rockhold saying he’s better then me in every aspect of the fight], the Philistines said Goliath had to kill David because he was a great warrior and David was just an average man. Who won that fight? I feel like the Son of God and I believe it’s a blessing for me to feel this way. I respect this [opinion that Rockhold can out grapple me] but the whole world has the right to talk, but it’s God that’s got to shed the light so, I’m going to shed the light in those dark places that Luke talks about it. I will be the light that God gives me in that moment. I feel blessed [to be in an interim title fight]. The strength of my work, the amount of work that I put in, the amount of work my team has put it in, the support that I have for my family, this is what drives me.”
— Peoples Champ (@YoelRomeroMMA) January 17, 2018
“This is my team’s work and this is a blessing. You learn in victory and defeat, so I learned from that fight [with Robert Whittaker]. I learned in training. You learn every day. People think that I don’t have five-round cardio? Ask Robert how he felt when he was fighting me in the later rounds. He’s a very tough man, I applaud him, my hat’s off to him. He’s got a lot of talent and he’s a champion now for a reason, but look at my age and look at my form. Do I have cardio, or do I not have cardio? I’m number one for a reason, people can talk about my cardio all they want. I guess people behind me must have really bad cardio too.” — Yoel Romero speaking to Submission Radio.
Rule number one when fighting @YoelRomeroMMA…
watch out for the flying knees. #UFC221
— UFC (@ufc) February 8, 2018
If you listen to Yoel Romero giving his matter-of-fact speech about the Bible, God’s light and five-round cardio and aren’t pumped up, you need to check your pulse. The ‘Soldier of God’ is here to raise you up like Jesus did Lazarus. We have no idea who is going to win their elite clash at UFC 221 tomorrow, but it’s hard to doubt Romero when he has the confidence of a proven prophet and puts together interviews like this, all through the aid of an interpreter by the way. The wait for us — and for Yoel Romero — is almost over. Although for Yoel, he’s already ‘y nuevo’.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/9/2018.