12 Feb Is this the end of championship fighting weight?
So after a whirlwind 48 hours in the UFC’s middleweight division, we were lead to believe that after UFC 221 in Perth was finished, we would have a clear understanding of who would be facing Robert Whittaker for the undisputed 185lbs title.
Instead, we are left dazed and confused after what might well be one of the most perplexing times in UFC history.
Yoel Romero showed just how dangerous he can be, with a brutal knockout of Luke Rockhold, but because the fighter missed the championship weight of 185 by 2.7 lbs there was no way, according to rules, that Romero could win the vacant interim title that was on the line.
That being said, the division was thrown into disarray when the man who couldn’t actually win the interim title, did actually go on to win.
It means we now have no certainty of who Whittaker will fight next and has in fact thrown the door open to a few possibilities.
With a highlight reel knockout, Romero is undeniably still the number one contender of the division, but will the UFC give him a shot at the undisputed belt missing weight?
The fact is his weigh-in fiasco cost him a chance at interim gold and, but he still just might be in with a shot at the undisputed.
Rockhold has stated his intentions of moving up to light heavyweight now that fellow team-mate Daniel Cormier has moved up to heavyweight.
With his loss to Romero, there’s no better time for Rockhold to make that move having already won the middleweight title back in December 2015.
It’s unlikely he’ll still get his shot after Saturday night’s loss, so it is undoubtedly imminent Rockhold will make that step up to light heavyweight sooner than he expected.
And lurking behind those two in the rankings, we have Ronald ‘Jacare’ Souza and ‘The All American’ Chris Weidman.
These two inevitably have to fight each other next. It’s just what makes sense for both fighters and the winner could well go on to face the middleweight champion.
‘Jacare’ has losses to both Whittaker and Romero however, a convincing win over Weidman will surely throw him back into the mix.
Weidman, although losing three of his last four, has looked impressive in previous fights and you could argue was rather unlucky, particularly with Gegard Mousasi.
Whatever the outcome here, it is hard to rule out a title shot for the winner but the strongest possibility here is, in fact, Romero and if the UFC go ahead and book Whittaker against Romero, what is the point in having to make championship weight for title fights?