Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero were originally expected to fight at UFC 230 on November 3 in New York City. Regrettably, Romero will not be able to compete on this card, as he’s still dealing with a lingering injury.
“Maybe four or five months [until I can return],” Yoel Romero explained on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show this week. “The doctor said, ‘Yoel needs more time.’ You know me. If you give me somebody, I take it. But you need to be smart. When the doctor says, ‘You’re ready,’ you can go. I’m waiting.
“My eye is not ready. I want to fight, but it is what it is. The doctor said, ‘Yoel cannot fight.’ I want to fight on this card, this show. Anytime you have an opportunity to fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, you’re making history. But I need to wait.”
When Romero officially bowed out of this matchup with Paulo Costa, rising middleweight contender Antonio Carlos Junior attempted to step in and replace him.
— Cara de Sapato (@caradesapatojr) August 21, 2018
“Hey [Paulo Costa]! Let me fill in for Romero,” Carlos Jr said on Twitter. “Lets let the world see how our sparring used to go!!!”
Apparently, however, Costa has decided to wait for the opportunity to fight Yoel Romero, so we can scratch his name from the UFC 230 bill altogether.
“It looks like he wants more time to train, to be ready for our fight,” Costa told Combate (translation via MMAjunkie). “But this fight will happen. I’ll wait for him to return. I’ll give him the time he needs to train. The time he finds necessary to be ready for our fight. And I’ll wait. This fight should happen early next year, 2019.”
“There’s no reason why I’d do another fight before,” Costa said. “He’s first in the [UFC’s] ranking, so there’s no better fighter for me to fight, considering that [Kelvin] Gastelum and Whittaker were already set to fight for the title. I think that’s the fight to make. So we’ll wait for him. Whenever he’s ready, I’ll be ready to beat him and go on in my journey toward the belt.”
Do you think waiting for Yoel Romero is the right move for Paulo Costa?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/23/2018.