On Saturday afternoon — mere hours before his scheduled fight with Kelvin Gastelum — UFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker was rushed to the hospital for surgery as the result of a collapsed hernia. The champ is now facing a potentially lengthy recovery. Bad news for Gastelum, who is still waiting for his title shot, and surging contender Israel Adesanya, who also deserves a shot at gold.
Luckily, Robert Whittaker has a suggestion for these two contenders, should they get bored while he recovers: fight Yoel Romero.
Whittaker has done just that twice, picking up decision wins over the destructive Cuban in a pair of five-round wars. Since these wars, he’s been vocal about how difficult the experience of fighting a monster like Romero is, and encourages his middleweight rivals to try the experience for themselves if they’re looking for something to do.
“Definitely [Romero is the second best guy in the division],” Whittaker said recently on his Grange TV YouTube channel (transcript via MMA Fighting). “If Adesanya or Gastelum want something to do, fight him. [Laughing] He’s fun. He’s a great fight.”
This comment echoes another Whittaker made in the lead-up to his scheduled fight with Gastelum, in which he expressed how happy he was to fight somebody else after his back-to-back firefights with Romero.
“I feel that Yoel gave me his best in 10 rounds and couldn’t put me away. I went 10 rounds with a monster, no one else has,” he said. “It is refreshing to have a different opponent other than Yoel.”
Yoel Romero, of course, is currently booked for a fight with the similarly destructive Paulo Costa. He’ll use this fight as an opportunity to rebound from his second loss to Whittaker, and author yet another jaw-dropping stoppage victory.
How do you think Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum would fair against Yoel Romero? Could they do as well against the Cuban monster as Robert Whittaker did?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/14/2019.