Despite a bout between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa having been announced for Nov. 3 at UFC 230 in New York, it will not happen as expected. Romero has had to withdraw from the fight.
Though a headlining bout has yet to be announced, UFC 230 was already shaping up to be a fight card chock-full of drawing power. Dustin Poirier is expected to fight Nate Diaz at Madison Square Garden, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is paired with David Branch, and rising sensation Israel Adesanya meets Derek Brunson.
The card was dealt a significant blow on Monday, however, when Romero told ESPN‘s Ariel Helwani that he was not going to be able to fight Costa as planned.
Romero explained that he suffered a broken orbital bone in his UFC 225 headlining bout with middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in June. He had surgery to repair the damage, but said his doctor feels Romero needs more time to heal and won’t be ready for the November date.
“Maybe four or five months,” Romero said about a return. “The doctor said, ‘Yoel needs more time.’ You know me. If you give me somebody, I take it. But you need to be smart. When the doctor says, ‘You’re ready,’ you can go. I’m waiting.
“My eye is not ready. I want to fight, but it is what it is. The doctor said, ‘Yoel cannot fight.’ I want to fight on this card, this show. Anytime you have an opportunity to fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, you’re making history. But I need to wait.”
After missing weight by two-tenths of a pound for his most recent fight with Whittaker, Romero had indicated that he might move up to light heavyweight, but it appears he is holding off on such a move for the foreseeable future.
“I talked with the UFC and said I’m not going to go up,” Romero said. “Maybe in the future. People need to see the belt on my body. When I take the belt, maybe I’ll go up and fight a superfight.”
Though he is 41 years of age, Romero should have a fair amount of time to consider a move to 205 pounds, as he also revealed on Monday that he recently inked a new eight-fight contract with the UFC.