Yoel Romero has now been compared to steel by two former opponents. The first man to compare Romero to steel was former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. Now, reigning UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has borrowed this metaphor, using it to describe the incredibly uncomfortable experience of fighting the Cuban behemoth.
“This time, he felt like steel,” Whittaker told The Daily Telegraph of his second and most recent fight with Romero, which headlined the stacked UFC 225 last Saturday night. “I was punching and kicking him but it wasn’t doing any damage. He was walking forward through everything. It was weird.”
“My shots just weren’t stopping him. I’ve fought everyone in the middleweight division — including Romero previously — and I’ve never seen anything like that.”
“Except for my face, all the damage on my body is from me hitting him.”
Whittaker isn’t sure why Romero’s body now feels like steel, when it didn’t in their first fight
“Maybe you get stronger as you get older,” he said of Romero, who is now 41 years old. “I assume that’s what happens when you get to your forties.”
Romero also missed weight for his UFC 225 fight — albeit only by 0.2 pounds — which could explain why he felt so sturdy to Whittaker.
“He didn’t feel like a middleweight,” Whittaker said. “I know you probably agree he doesn’t look like a middleweight and I can tell you he doesn’t feel like one either.”
Because Romero missed weight for UFC 225, the fight wasn’t technically a title fight, which means Whittaker’s win doesn’t technically register as a title defense.
Whittaker’s next most recent fight, which occurred in July of 2017, was also against Romero. He won that fight by unanimous decision, capturing the UFC interim middleweight title in the process. He was then promoted to undisputed champion when Georges St-Pierre vacated that title.
What do you think of Robert Whittaker’s account of fighting Yoel Romero?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/12/2018.