The UFC middleweight belt has gone through convolutions recently:
•Bisping beats Rockhold, wins undisputed belt.
•Whittaker beat Romero, wins interim belt.
•GSP beat Bisping for belt, then drops it, so Whittaker title becomes undisputed.
•Whittaker booked vs. Rockhold for undisputed belt, but Whittaker withdraws.
•Romero booked vs. Rockhold for interim title, making Romero the first fighter to fight for a vacant interim UFC belt twice in a row, but Yoel misses weight so loses title eligibility, and wins.
•Whittaker title again becomes undisputed.
There was some question as to whether Romero would get a title shot, given that his last fight was a unanimous decision win over him just six months ago. Former division champion Chris Weidman made a case.
Hang on…Am I the only one who is in the top 5 who hasn’t fought Whitaker, coming off a win, most title defenses, makes weight and doesn’t fail drug tests? #UFC221
However, at the UFC 221 post-fight press conference, UFC senior vice president David Shaw said that is what’s in store.
“For us, it’s never good when fighters miss weight, so I think it sort of takes a bit away from the main event,” said Shaw, as transcribed by MMAFighting. “I’m glad that the main event fight continued, obviously. I thought the fight itself was pretty dynamic. The first round, they kind of sussed each other out, and Romero was pretty emphatic. I mean, that was a pretty decisive win.
“The weight situation, I don’t think that’s going to play into it [the title shot decision]. I think we’ve got a few factors that are going to allow us for some time, and first and foremost, it’s that Rob can’t really fight for a few months, so there’s a bit of time to figure out what happens in the middleweight division.”
UFC president Dana White was characteristically blunt about whether the Soldier of God gets a rematch for the undisputed title.
Asked Dana White if plan is to have Yoel Romero fight Robert Whittaker next, despite the fact he didn’t win an interim title tonight.
And Romero did apologize sincerely, while sitting on the canvas as his shin was so deeply bruised it could no longer support his weight.