Las Vegas, NV — There’s little doubt that Yoel Romero would like to take Israel Adesanya to the ground in their main event tilt at UFC 248 on Saturday night.
Romero, however, is acutely aware that there are no guarantees in MMA.
“You have to expect everything from a fight,” he told reporters including Cageside Press at the UFC 248 open workout on Wednesday. “You have to be completely well-trained in every aspect.”
Heading into the event, there’s been some talk about Adesanya battling a staph infection. He’d been seen with a red mark on his chest. But asked if he was worried about Adesanya’s well-being, Romero answered that he was “more worried about [my] health.”
Romero, like many other athletes, has also been dealing with another health concern: the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Among the modifications to his camp, he’s been doing “everything separate, we’ve been going to different hotels. We’ve been staying away from large crowds as much as possible.”
The focus, though, remains on Adesanya. What’s rather unique about UFC 248, however, is that it’s essentially a case of the champion calling a challenger out. With top contenders injured or otherwise unavailable, Adesanya called for the fight with Romero.
The Cuban wasn’t exactly surprised, mind you. “Not surprised. Because every time somebody needs to prove [themselves],” they turned to him. And, he added, “You’d be lying to yourself if you do not want to fight the best guys. If he wants to know he’s the best, he has to fight the very, very best.”
Clearly, Yoel Romero feels that he fits the bill. Most people, he added, didn’t want to fight with him in the wrestling world either. Romero won the silver medal for Cuba at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia. But, he said, there was “always someone valiant” willing to face him, something he appreciated. The way he now appreciates Adesanya, with newfound respect.
Watch the full UFC 248 open workout media scrum with Yoel Romero above!