Romero will enter the bout riding a two fight losing streak, but his agent in Abraham Kawa says the losses should’ve been wins and Adesanya recognizes that, which is why Romero is getting the title opportunity.
“If you’re looking at it from Izzy’s eyes, and Izzy has been very forthcoming and very honest, he said, ‘That’s the boogeyman, that’s the top of the division, that’s the guy I want to fight,'” Kawa told MMA Junkie. “I give all the respect in the world to Izzy for saying that because I believe Izzy in his heart believes (Romero) beat Costa, he beat Rob (Whittaker) possibly once, maybe twice depending on how you look at it. So, he could’ve possibly been defending his title a few times now. So I like the fact he did that Izzy said, ‘That the guy I want to go after.’ Let’s do it.”
The challenger is 0-2-0 in previous title fights, but a victory over Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 would’ve made Romero the interim middleweight champion if the fighter made weight for the fight.
Kawa also claims that MMA is still an entertainment business, which is another reason why Romero is getting the title shot.
“This is still entertainment, so this is a business where the most exciting fighters are always going to be put on the biggest platforms, to be able to fight for the biggest prizes,” Kawa said. “If you are not exciting, it’s kind of hard to put you in a position to grow and be there. Taking nothing away from Costa, he apparently has an injury to his bicep and whatnot. It’s unfortunate for him. But one person’s unfortunate situation is another person’s fortunate situation. In our case they have no one else at 185 who can actually do that. It wasn’t just an example of having nobody else. Not having anybody else there, it’s only one part of it. You could’ve had someone else jump Yoel. Someone that drops down from light heavyweight to drop down to 185 to get that shot.”
UFC 248 takes place on Saturday, March 7 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.