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Multiple-time Ultimate Fighting Championship title challenger Yoel Romero has been unexpectedly released by the promotion.
On Friday night, ESPN reported that Romero (13-5) is no longer part of the UFC roster. According to ESPN, Romero had three fights left on his contract, but the 43-year-old is moving on. Romero is already speaking with other promoters to negotiate potential contracts, per his management team.
“While we didn’t expect Romero’s time in the UFC to end like this,” Romero’s manager Malki Kawa said to ESPN, “we are grateful for the opportunities Dana White, Hunter Campbell and Mick Maynard gave him over the years. He’s ready to move on now and resume his career, and we are already talking to other promotions as we speak.”
Romero leaves the promotion on a three-fight skid, with a trio of decision defeats to Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. “Soldier of God” officially vied for the UFC throne on two separate occasions, coming up short each time to either Whittaker or Adesanya. Although he engaged in two other potential championship affairs against Luke Rockhold for the interim strap and Whittaker in a rematch, he missed weight both times to remove him from contention.
His last appearance came in March against Adesanya, where the two engaged in an extremely lackluster five-round affair where fewer than 100 significant strikes landed over 25 minutes. Although he competed in the Octagon just 13 times across his UFC career that began in 2013, the Cuban-born Romero earned seven post-fight bonuses with an eighth that was rescinded when he missed weight. He moves on from the UFC with the third-most knockouts in divisional history with seven, trailing Anderson Silva and Thiago Santos with eight apiece. Romero stands alone with the most third-round finishes in UFC history (six).