Over the weekend, middleweight fighter Yoel Romero(13-5 MMA, 9-4 UFC) was given his outright release from the UFC. After nearly eight years with the company, the 43-year old freestyle wrestler with 11 knockouts is without an MMA home. He does have several options to choose from on where to go to continue his career.
Still, in incredible shape and with an arsenal of ability, Romero can still sign somewhere and make another run for a championship if he gets back on a hot streak again. If Glover Teixiera can show us that age is just a number, winning five straight fights, Romero can as well. It depends on who is the first to approach him and what the right cost is for someone who is well packaged, but is at a disadvantage with his age. This became a big issue for recently retired Anderson Silva, who left the UFC following a fourth-round loss to Uriah Hall on Halloween night. Many promoters publicly turned down Silva’s services as he still had the passion to pursue mixed martial arts at 45 years of age.
Only two years Silva’s junior, Romero may be facing a similar path. While nowhere near the status of a man who once held the UFC Middleweight Title for nearly seven years, he can still fight, but as long as he has the passion. Many fans and pundits are anticipating that Bellator MMA may be the first to ring up Romero to boost their 185-lb weight class. Signing senior fighters in the past may look like a good idea, only they rejected Silva. The PFL signed 43-year old Fabrizio Werdum to their heavyweight division, so they may be a safer bet for Romero as that promotion may be more hungry for veteran talent than Bellator.
RIZIN FC proposed to sit down and talk to Silva when everyone else shut their doors on him, so it’s possible that they may offer Romero a chance at redemption. ONE Championship could be a good option for Romero where they have had UFC talent head East to fight for them, especially when they traded Ben Askren for Demetrious Johnson, winning that deal hands down, and signing Eddie Alvarez. With homegrown talent from Asia, they could still benefit if they sign Romero as he can still pose a threat to their middleweight division.
Wherever he may choose to go, he’s still considered one of the most intimidating fighters in the sport. Whether anyone wants to take a gamble on a fighter nearing senior citizen status is something they’ll have to look in the mirror about. Otherwise, a change of scenery could be able to benefit both parties that with a little bit of luck, could put an end to his three-fight losing streak. This may be one of the most intriguing stories heading into the new year.