UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has bested Yoel Romero twice now, and he has noticed a big difference between their two fights.
The pair initially met back in July of last year when Whittaker defeated Romero via unanimous decision to capture the interim 185-pound championship. He was later promoted to undisputed champion when Georges St-Pierre forfeited his claim to the throne, citing medical issues.
Nearly a year later, Whittaker and Romero rematched in the main event of the UFC 225 pay-per-view (PPV) earlier this month. The bout was initially scheduled to be Whittaker’s first title defense, however, the Cuban missed weight and the bout was no longer a title fight.
It was a hard-fought 25 minutes between Romero and Whittaker, with Whittaker nearly being finished on several occasions. In the end, Whittaker got the job done on the judges’ scorecards with a split decision.
Whittaker recently did an interview on GrangeTV to discuss his UFC 225 fight with Romero. The Aussie revealed that Romero’s body felt like metal whenever he’d strike him. Whittaker seems to find this suspicious given that Romero didn’t feel like that a year ago when they first fought (quotes via MMA Mania):
“Whatever he’s hydrating on, I would like to know so I can also hydrate on that because it turns you superhuman, just about. When I was punching and kicking him he felt like metal — like a dude made out of concrete, it was a ridiculous. I fought him a year ago, and he didn’t feel like concrete.
“Not like that. He’s a tough guy, and like I said before, he’s a top-caliber athlete. But for him to come back the way he did, and for him to feel so differently and to perform so differently than he did a year ago — ‘cause let’s not forget, I have fought him before.
“I’ve experienced his shots, I’ve experienced landing shots on him, I’ve experience fighting him before. For him to make those changes physically and athletically, in a year, at the age of 41… I’m leaving that down to nothing more than magic.”