On the night of UFC 243, all the questions regarding Israel Adesanya were answered on whether he was the real deal, or simply a hype train in the making. Adesanya went on to fight in the main event in Melbourne, Australia and took out the hometown hero and reigning champ Robert Whittaker.
Before the unified championship bout even took place, there were rumors of a title defense between Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya already to be setup afterwards if Adesanya were to win the title. Costa had just defeated Yoel Romero at UFC 241, where he won a razor close decision. Yoel Romero had faced Robert Whittaker in his previous two title defenses, both of which Whittaker won by decision and were contenders for Fight Of The Year.
Costa was in attendance at UFC 243 when Adesanya unified the middleweight belt in hopes of getting the next shot at the title. Soon after, Costa injured his bicep and realized he needed surgery and would not be recovered enough to compete until spring of 2020.
Yoel Romero took the opportunity to call out the new middlewight king in Adesanya, and “Stylebender” agreed that this would be a great match-up. On the other hand, UFC president Dana White isn’t so sure if this is the fight to make at this time. White claimed that he wants Romero to get a win before he gets another shot at the title, as he said while peaking with “Adams Apple.” (H/T MMA Fighting)
“(Adesanya) wants to fight Yoel Romero. He wants Romero. So we’re talking about giving Romero a fight coming up soon here and then (Adesanya) will fight the winner of that fight.”
White’s hesitance to give Romero the shot more than likely comes from the fact that he is 1-3 in his last 4 fights and has missed weight for two title fights. He also realizes, nonetheless, that the time for Romero to get a fight and then wait on Costa vs Adesanya does not make a whole lot of sense if Costa will actually be ready to go by April like he claims he will be.
“Costa tore his bicep so he had to have surgery,” White said. “He’s claiming that he will be back sooner than he will be. That’s not what the doctor is telling me, so that’s not true.”
Do you think Romero needs a win before challenging for the middleweight title again?