Well, it’s certainly come from leftfield. Four-time UFC middleweight title challenger and perennial division challenger, Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero has parted ways with the organization, despite having three fights remaining on his deal.
The Pinar del Rio is reportedly, however, already in discussions with various other promotions ahead of a return to active competition for the first time since March this year.
Romero had spent just shy of seven years with the UFC, where he challenged for middleweight gold on four separate occasions — last featured in the main event of UFC 248, dropping a forgettable unanimous judging defeat to current titleholder, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya.
First Round Management leader, Malki Kawa gave a statement to ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani last night following Romero’s release, detailing how the team is thankful for the opportunities the UFC had afforded the Cuban, before explaining how the veteran is already in talks with numerous other organizations.
“While we didn’t expect (Yoel) Romero’s time in the UFC to end like this, we are grateful for the opportunities Dana White, Hunter Campbell, and Mick Maynard gave him over the years,” Kawa said. “He’s ready to move on now and resume his career, and we are already talking to other promotions as we speak.“
While the reasoning surrounding Romero’s abrupt release is currently unknown, it certainly comes as a surprise, given the fact the promotion had booked the knockout-ace opposite TUF 17 finalist, Uriah ‘Prime Time’ Hall as recently as UFC Vegas 7 in August — until undisclosed reasons forced his withdrawal.
A thirteen fight Octagon veteran, Romero had scored a 9-4 promotional record during his almost seven-year stint with the organization.
Over the course of his eleven-year career, Romero had scored victories over four former world titleholders, stopping the trio of Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, and Lyoto Machida, in between a close split decision victory over Jacare Souza at UFC 194.
Romero, who had been constantly linked with a move to 205-pounds, as recent as a potential title excursion opposite fellow multiple-time title challenger, Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson at UFC 230 in November of 2018, with the pairing failing to ever materialise — tipped the middleweight scales on two consecutive occasions, leaving him ineligible to win 185-pound championships.