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UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping accepts spring fight with Yoel Romero
Yoel Romero will apparently get this shot at UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, after all.
After Romero (13-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) knocked out ex-champ Chris Weidman (13-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) with a vicious third-round flying knee this past weekend at UFC 205, UFC President Dana White suggested Romero would be up next for Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC).
In fact, immediately after his win, Romero took aim at Bisping, who was in attendance at UFC 205 as an FS1 analyst. It appears the in- and out-of-cage exchange between the two vets will be the prelude to a real fight, which Romero also stumped for in a backstage interview after UFC 205 (watch it above).
“Listen, I always say I’ve never ducked anyone in my life, and I never will,” Bisping said Thursday on his SiriusXM show, “The Countdown with Michael Bisping”
According to Bisping, he spoke with UFC President Dana White, who pitched the fight for UFC 208, which takes place Jan. 21 in Anaheim, Calif. However, after fighting three times this year and getting some “injections in my knee,” Bisping told White he’d like some time to enjoy the holidays and nurse up some injuries before committing to a full training camp.
“Now, I’m not saying no to Yoel because, believe it or not, after beating Weidman like that, yeah, I do fancy that (fight),” Bisping said. “I was hoping Weidman would win. I always wanted to fight Weidman – more out of a respect thing really even though we went back and forth and talked (expletive). I really ever had too much against him. It was more of a comedy thing from where I was concerned, but I did want to fight him.
“That said, Yoel beat him.”
Bisping, who’s No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, won the title with a June upset of then-champ Luke Rockhold, and this past month, he avenged a 2009 loss to Dan Henderson and posted his first title defense. Now, he meets Romero, who recently took the No. 2 spot in the rankings to become the clear-cut top middleweight contender.
A failed drug test and some questionable in-cage tactics aside, Romero has earned his shot, according to Bisping. Although an exact date isn’t set, he expects the title fight to happen in early 2017.
“Sometime in spring – 100 percent – book the fight,” Bisping said he told White during their call. ” … So it’s looking like that will be the next fight unless something else transpires in some other situation, but it’s looking like me and Yoel sometime in the spring.”