Romero and Whittaker previously fought for the interim middleweight championship at UFC 213, with Whittaker edging out a decision in a competitive five-round affair. When Georges St-Pierre vacated the undisputed middleweight belt after defeating Michael Bisping last fall, Whittaker was promoted to the undisputed champion and set to defend his belt against Luke Rockhold at UFC 213. An injury then forced Whittaker out of the bout, at which point Romero stepped in on short notice and knocked out Rockhold to put himself back in line for another crack at Whittaker.
Well, according to Romero, it worked. During a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show, Romero claimed that he will be challenging Whittaker for the middleweight title when the UFC heads to Chicago for UFC 22 this summer.
“Let’s just wait until June 9th,” Romero said when asked how a rematch with Whittaker would look.
While the bout hasn’t officially been announced by the UFC, all signs point to the rematch headlining UFC 225, with ESPN having reported the news last week, and UFC President Dana White having said Whittaker-Romero 2 was the fight to make next.
And despite having come up short the first time around, Romero will be entering this title fight with complete confidence. Romero said that in defeat he learned some things about fighting that he then trained with former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and everyone saw the fruits of those labors with his brutal knockout of Luke Rockhold.
“After the [Whittaker] fight, my manager said that when he saw me I had a big smile on my face,” said Romero. “I was very happy. I didn’t take that loss as serious as I should have. [I was happy because] I learned. And now you see what happened with Luke Rockhold. I learned about timing.
“Listen, people talk about my ‘gas’ but it wasn’t easy to fight Luke Rockhold. I went to Albuquerque with Jon Jones and I learned something. They controlled my attacks, so I learned when to attack. If you go, go, go, you will get tired. So I had to learn to pace myself. I don’t have a problem with five rounds now.”
UFC 225 will take place on June 9 in the United Center in Chicago, Illinois with confirmed bouts between Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes, Joseph Benavidez and Sergio Pettis, and Claudia Gadelha and Carla Esparza.