UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya says that Yoel Romero’s title shot was a gift from him and blamed him for the lackluster performance at UFC 248.
The main event at UFC 248 featuring a UFC middleweight title fight between Adesanya and Romero was widely criticized for being somewhat of a lackluster performance. Both fighters were technically hesitant to engage with each other, resulting in a clear lack of aggression in the bout. At the end of the 1st-round, only 6 significant strikes had been landed between both men. The contest concluded with Adesanya winning via unanimous decision after 5-rounds of fighting. Since then, UFC president Dana White has expressed his disappointment in Yoel Romero, stating that this was his last chance at winning a UFC title.
Adesanya spoke to Ariel Helwani following the fight, criticizing Romero for his performance. The champion was initially expected to face the undefeated Brazilian Paulo Costa, who was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a bicep injury. Instead of waiting for his next challenger to get healthy, Adesanya opted to fight Romero instead. Romero was coming off of a 2-fight losing streak, losing to Costa prior to UFC 248. Adesanya says that the title shot was a gift and is annoyed at Romero for ruining it:
“I love fighting, this is what I love to do. So after the fight, I was frustrated, I was like, ‘You’re going to act like that?’ Me and him know you can act all you want, you can try to get the crowd on the side all you want bro. Me and him know, me and him know who pushed that fight, me and him know who was scoring in that fight. So I mean, he has to live with this for the rest of his life,” Adesanya said.
“He had one more shot at this belt. He didn’t even deserve to be in there with me. He had no right to be in there with me. But I gave him the shot because I thought, ‘Ok, this is the guy that everyone’s scared of, everyone doesn’t want to fight, let me see what this hype is about.’ So I called him out, I gave him the shot after going on a three-fight losing streak, it was a gift from me. So the fact that he approached the fight like that, it will be his last title shot. It’s something he’s going to have to live with for the rest of his life.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 10th March, 2020.