Bellator MMA light heavyweight contender Yoel Romero is more than pleased with his treatment in the promotion, naming the “vital” thing he receives.
Following 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 inked 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, this past May in Paris.
Against Alex Polizzi who stepped in to replace the injured Melvin Manhoef, “Soldier of God” dominated en route to a fifth-round TKO, with referee Mike Beltran waving 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 both 205 and 185 pounds.
But more than just action inside the cage, the 45-year-old believes his venture to fresh pastures has helped reignite his passion.
Romero Is “Head Over Heels In Love With Bellator”
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Romero was asked to assess his short stint in Bellator thus far, and whether he’s content with his treatment.
After naming a few crucial aspects of his relationship with the organization, the former UFC title challenger likened his Bellator arrival to a fresh dose of romance.
“I feel excited, I feel loved, and I feel respected,” Romero said. “That’s me, that’s vital. It is so important for someone to feel so respected. To me, I see this as falling in love once again. I am in a brand-new relationship, head over heels in love with Bellator.”
When asked whether the important aspects of his time in Bellator were missing during the back end of his career inside the Octagon, Romero suggested that the results of his final few fights in the UFC go some way to answering that.
“Love and respect are very loaded words. So, all I’m gonna say is look at my last four fights in the UFC and how they turned out, before, during, and after,” Romero noted. “All I’m gonna 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’s in the past is in the past.”
Having rebounded from his debut defeat last time out, Romero will be looking to build his first win streak in the Bellator cage on Friday when he returns to action against Manhoef in Dublin, Ireland.
Should he defeat the Frenchman, the “Soldier of God” will move closer to a shot at Vadim Nemkov’s light heavyweight gold, which Romero’s fellow former UFC fighter Corey Anderson is set to challenge for later this year.
Did Yoel Romero make the right choice by signing for Bellator?