Talk about the UFC’s middleweight title shot picture recently hasn’t really involved Yoel Romero, but it looks like that’s about to change.
As you likely recall, Romero worked his way to a tightly contested, split decision win over “Jacare” Souza in December and moved into the #2 ranking as a result. While the UFC didn’t say Romero was going to challenge for the belt next, he was certainly in the mix.
But, in January, USADA announced that Romero had been informed of a potential anti-doping violation. No details regarding the violation were disclosed, but it looked as though the powerful wrestler was headed for a two year suspension.
Well, today MMA Fighting.com is reporting that Romero has reached a deal with USADA, and will only be suspended for nine months. This news comes after it was reported that Romero was planning to appeal a two year suspension, since he and his camp blame a supplement for the violation.
Romero’s manager, Malki Kawa, said this on “The MMA Hour” back in February:
“The substance has a label with a bunch of stuff on it,” Kawa said. “None of that is illegal to take. What he got popped for is not on the label. So it’s obviously not his fault that he popped for this.”
So, if you do the quick math…Romero could be eligible to fight again by September. Reigning champ, Luke Rockhold, will battle Chris Weidman at UFC 199 on June 4th.
Now, since Romero has been out for most of the year, and because his bout with Souza was so competitive, chances are he won’t get tapped for a title shot next. But, depending on what goes down in the coming weeks-Souza will fight Vitor Belfort on May 14th–Romero will be available if need be.
Maybe Romero and Michael Bisping should throw down? Or what about a rematch with Tim Kennedy?