The UFC’s Middleweight division has seen something of a shake-up in recent months. Top of the pile, however, is still Michael Bisping, but the current champ hasn’t fought since defeating Dan Henderson in his final fight back in October.
Meanwhile, several worthy contenders for his belt have been making a lot of noise as they climb up the ranks – not least of these being the Cuban Olympian, Yoel Romero, whose current record stands at 12-1 since turning professional, and who has had no losses since signing with the UFC back in 2013.
You’d think that Romero would have done enough to earn a shot at the belt by now, but the UFC had been eyeing a superfight to mark the return of Georges St Pierre, where the Welterweight champ would step up to Middleweight to challenge Bisping. This was confirmed by Dana White, until May 11th, when GSP announced he’d need more time to train and the fight was postponed until the winner of a Bisping vs Romero fight had been established.
The title challenge wasn’t to happen though, as Bisping has since had surgery on his damaged knee and won’t risk fighting a grappler like Romero until it’s fully healed. This leaves the division with no titel contention until at least November…
Ain’t nobody got time for that, so the UFC has arranged an interim title fight between Romero and Robert Whittaker, following the New Zealander’s spectacular demolition of Jacare at UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Reis. “That doesn’t mean they’re fighting for my title,” Bisping said last night on UFC Tonight. “Nobody’s fighting for my title right now. Let’s just make this clear: Romero and Whittaker are fighting, and one of them gets a participation award. That’s all it is.
“I’m not necessarily sure it was the right move, or even the essential move to make… But the UFC has to do what they have to do. I understand that. There are a lot of people in the middleweight division that are complaining, especially when I was supposed to fight GSP, that the division wasn’t moving along. Now I’ve got an injury; it’s taken longer than expected for my return… I think it’s a little premature. But as I said, the UFC has got to do what they’ve got to do. And in my mind this just certainly (will define) the next No. 1 contender.”