Yoel Romero will be making his return to fighting this weekend, but it won’t be as a member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roster.
Instead, Romero will be making his debut for Bellator MMA in a headlining act against Phil Davis at Bellator 266 live on Showtime from inside SAP Center in San Jose, California. It will be the first time since parting ways with UFC back in December that Romero is competing. Romero was scheduled to make his Bellator debut against Anthony Johnson earlier this year, but an eye injury has had him sidelined for months.
With UFC officially in the rearview and his Bellator career about to launch, “Solider of God” recently discussed his time as a member of the UFC roster and if he’s leaving anything behind.
“I don’t think I left anything undone in the UFC,” Romero said at Bellator 266’s pre-fight news conference Thursday. “Now, I’m taking another step to keep growing. I was already in the UFC. I humbly believe that I didn’t do too bad. I learned. I keep learning. Everything I learned I will manifest in this great company.”
Romero didn’t do that bad at all. In 13 trips to the Octagon the Cuban fighter recorded nine victories, seven knockouts, and two title fights. Romero would have technically competed in four UFC title fights, but a few botched weight cuts prohibited him from winning gold. While fight fans will expect to see the same ferocious fighter come Saturday night Romero will be competing in the light heavyweight division for the first time since a brief stopover in Strikeforce back in 2011.
“Everything in life, like I told you earlier, everything is a process,” Romero said. “Everything has a path to it. That’s what happened at first. First, I have to go through 185. It doesn’t mean that I won’t fight at 185 – if there’s a possibility to talk about 185 title. That doesn’t mean it’s going to change the game completely. To not have to worry about what I eat.”
Romero, 44, is entering an important time in his career. The former Olympic athlete lost his final three fights in UFC and needs to prove that he’s still a top contender in the world. With just 18 career MMA fights “Soldier of God” doesn’t have too many miles under his belt and plenty of room to still grow, but he’s looking to take his new Bellator venture one step at a time.
“First (you need to) set the ground because the ground… it will bring fruit,” Romero said. “First, (I will) set up the ground on Saturday.”
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