Yoel Romero is in one of the toughest spots in the UFC.
In some cases, he has everything going for him. The Olympic medalist’s wrestling game has created big problems for the middleweight division, but not as much as the two sledgehammers at the ends of his wrists.
A human highlight reel and a marvel of athletic ability at age 40, Romero has been close to the top multiple times. He fought for the interim middleweight championship against Robert Whittaker a year ago, losing a close decision. When they had a rematch, it was the same result but even closer. However, had Romero won, he would’ve still not become champion as he missed weight by less than a quarter pound.
This wasn’t his first time missing the mark on the scale, though the previous instance for his bout against Luke Rockhold happened after Romero took the fight on short notice. Nonetheless, Romero has had a lot of options. After teasing a move up to light heavyweight, he was temporarily penciled in to face Paulo Costa at UFC 230 before injuries derailed that bout. Now, he may have another challenger in mind – Anderson Silva.
Romero said the callout was about respect, saying: “It’s not personal, between me and Anderson, it’s for me, because Anderson is the best of all time in MMA… If you stay in the middleweight division and you don’t fight with the top 10 people, you won’t understand what exactly is your level. If you really want to know what is your level, you have to fight with Anderson Silva.”
Silva is also at a crossroads in his career. After putting together the longest title run in the UFC and becoming arguably the greatest of all time, he hit a skid that’s seen him lose more than he’s won in recent memory. He was recently cleared of a second doping violation, meaning he is eligible to return to fighting.
On one hand, fighting Silva means big money because “The Spider” is still a massive draw in the sport. But on the other hand, it is also about legacy – even though he’s lost a step, Silva is still a big name for anyone to have on their record. And should these two explosive middleweights clash, it would be a big treat for fans who love dynamic striking and the possibility of a knockout.
Romero has scored impressive stoppage wins over the likes of Chris Weidman, Rockhold, Ronaldo Souza, and many other fighters during his middleweight run. The heavily muscled Romero may have trouble hitting the 185-pound mark again, but the possibility of a fight with Silva could give him added motivation to do so.
Silva was once scheduled to face Kelvin Gastelum at the UFC’s Shanghai event before his drug test derailed that bout. Gastelum has since made his way to a title shot. Silva has also been discussed for a potential super fight with former welterweight champ, former middleweight champ, and fellow GOAT contender Georges St.-Pierre.