Bellator MMA light heavyweight contender Yoel Romero is more than happy with his treatment in the promotion, naming the “vital” thing he receives.
After a failed title challenger against reigning middleweight king Israel Adesanya at UFC 248 in 2020, which followed losses to Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa for a three-fight skid, Romero announced his departure from the UFC in December and entered the world of free agency.
Shortly after, the Cuban powerhouse signed a deal with Bellator, making his promotional debut nine months later. After falling on the wrong side of a split decision against Phil Davis, Romero returned to the win column for the first time in the Bellator cage, and the first time in four years, last May in Paris.
Against Alex Polizzi who stepped in to replace injured Melvin Manhoef, “Soldier of God” dominated en route to a fifth-round TKO, with referee Mike Beltran calling off the contest after the final horn.
Having had his hand raised for the first time under the Bellator banner, Romero is excited about his future in the organization and boasts aspirations of glory at 205 and 185 pounds.
But more than just action inside the cage, the 45-year-old believes his adventure to new pastures has helped rekindle his passion.
Romero is ‘madly in love with Bellator’
During a recent appearance on MMA hour with Ariel HelwaniRomero was asked to assess his short stint at Bellator so far and if he’s happy with his treatment.
After naming a few crucial aspects of his relationship with the organization, the former UFC title challenger likened his arrival to Bellator to a new dose of romance.
“I feel excited, I feel loved and I feel respected,” Romero said. “For me, it’s vital. It’s so important for someone to feel that respected. For me, I see it as falling in love all over again. I’m in a brand new relationship, head over heels in love with Bellator .
When asked if important aspects of his time in Bellator were missing at the end of his Octagon career, Romero suggested that the results of his last fights in the UFC partly answer that.
“Love and respect are very charged words. So all I’m going to say is look at my last four fights in the UFC and how they went, before, during and after,” Romero noted. “All I’m going to say is they left a lot to be desired… I moved on. Regardless of what happened, I am happy with this new phase of my life. What is in the past is in the past.
After bouncing back from his opening loss last time out, Romero will look to build his first winning streak in the Bellator cage on Friday when he returns to action against Manhoef in Dublin, Ireland.
Should he beat the Frenchman, “Soldat of God” would be one step closer to a shot at the light heavyweight gold of Vadim Nemkov, who Romero’s former UFC fighter Corey Anderson is expected to challenge later this year.
Did Yoel Romero make the right choice signing with Bellator?