The UFC’s lightweight division once held up by Conor McGregor used to be the most backed up, confusing, and frustrating division in the promotion but now, middleweight can hold that title. If you haven’t followed the happenings of the division once led by former champion Michael Bisping, he had to sit out last year’s International Fight Week and so Robert Whittaker fought Yoel Romero for the interim middleweight title, Whittaker won that fight.
After that fight, Whittaker had to withdraw from any future unification fight against Bisping due to a knee injury he suffered against Romero and that’s when the chaos began. When Whittaker had to pull out, former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre returned from a four-year absence to fight Bisping for the title at UFC 217 and then won the belt with a third-round submission.
Following that victory, GSP citing illness vacated the middleweight and so Whittaker who was finally healthy was slated to fight Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 but again had to pull out so Romero stepped in to face Rockhold. The chaos wasn’t over there as Romero missed weight at 221 and so only Rockhold was eligible to win the interim title and the chance to face Whittaker. Despite missing weight, Romero knocked out Rockhold in the third round and even though he wasn’t given the interim title, he was given the next title shot to face Whittaker at UFC 225 in Chicago.
Fight week arrived and it felt like the middleweight division would finally clear up and have a true champion by the end of 225, but then came weigh-ins and Romero missed weight by 2 ounces after given a two-hour window and after some confusion with the commission, the fight is now slated to be a five-round non-title main event.
With plenty of chaos surrounding the best of the 185-pound division, there’s plenty to question when it comes to the UFC middleweight champion.
That’s the middleweight division wrapped up and it really doesn’t feel like there’s any clarity with the championship picture. Yes, Robert Whittaker is the man with the belt since he was interim champion and then the champion vacated, but with his opponents missing weight and him dealing with injuries, it seems as if we are still awaiting the arrival of a middleweight champion.
There may not be a title on the line at UFC 225, but for the sake of the division, a win for Robert Whittaker will likely mean the division can move forward and other top contenders can start fighting for the title. If Yoel Romero is victorious over Whittaker, then the madness only continues, and maybe that’s where all the fun lies.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
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