Yoel Romero refuses to compete at light heavyweight – Here’s why

"It’s not possible for me..."

Despite rumours and even a previous foray into the division, don’t expect to see Yoel Romero at light heavyweight.

This weekend at UFC 248, top-ranked Cuban middleweight Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero will once again compete for a middleweight title. During the past few years he’s competed for the interim middleweight title on three occasions, but has yet to capture UFC gold. On Saturday he will challenge for an undisputed title for the first time, as reigning champion Israel Adesanya makes his first title defense.

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While Romero is clearly focused on Adesanya and the middleweight title, his size, age and physique has caused many to propose a move up to light heavyweight. In fact, the Cuban Olympian wrestler began his career at light heavyweight, winning four straight bouts before losing to Rafael Cavalcante via TKO in Strikeforce. Since moving to middleweight he has never been stopped, and all his losses since have come via close decisions.

However, Romero has missed weight on several occasions. At UFC 221, him missing weight made him ineligible to win the interim middleweight title, despite defeating former champ Luke Rockhold via vicious KO.

The Cuban fighter claims that he loses a lot of weight during training, which would make him substantially smaller and lighter than most active light heavyweights.

“I have respect for my job”

“When I’m training, I go down (in weight), and when I’m training, normally when I have a good training, (I weigh a) maximum 210 (pounds),” Romero told MMA Junkie and other outlets at a media event Monday in Los Angeles. “It’s not possible. When I’m not training, boom – yeah, heavyweight. But when I’m training – 210, 208, 210, 208. It’s not possible for me. It’s not possible because I’m training good. I have respect for my job. When I’m training, I know what I need to do for good training.

“When you don’t sleep good, and when (you’re not eating healthy), something wrong happens: mistake. … When I have a good training, it’s not possible to go up. The (potential opponents) are so heavy.”

While many have predicted an eventual move to light heavyweight, Romero seems content and comfortable at middleweight. He has consistently found himself at the top of the division, but the title has eluded him every time. Despite this, he has beaten many of the divisions best, with his last two losses being somewhat controversial decisions.

The final result at UFC 248 this weekend may be the deciding factor in determining his weight class.

Would you like to see Yoel Romero at middleweight?

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for MMAnytt.com