Robert Whittaker emerged from his rematch with Yoel Romero at UFC 225 with a hard-fought split decision victory, and it’s a battle he won’t soon forget.
“The Reaper” did not speak to media following Saturday’s headliner at the United Center in Chicago because he was transported to a hospital to treat injuries — including a potentially broken thumb — suffered in the contest. Whittaker issued his first statement since the fight via Instagram on Monday.
“Let me start with showing respect to [Yoel Romero] and his team,” Whittaker wrote. “The was the hardest fight of my career and it was a war.”
The five-round affair was a non-title bout due to Romero missing his contracted weight by 0.2 pounds. The Cuban Olympian nonetheless gave Whittaker all he could handle, scoring knockdowns in rounds three and five and showcasing flashes of his devastating power throughout the contest. Had Romero won, Whittaker would have still retained his 185-pound title, but things certainly would have been more complicated at the top of the division.
“I didn’t need to take the fight but I told you I would give you fireworks,” Whittaker wrote. “Hope you liked them.”
Whittaker defeated Romero in a five-round unanimous verdict to claim the interim middleweight belt at UFC 213 last year. The 27-year-old champion is currently on a nine-fight winning streak overall.
Let me start with showing respect to @yoelromeromma and his team. That was the hardest fight of my career and it was a war. Last night was my night though and I must say thanks to all the people that made it possible for me to go out there and perform. Thanks to my coaches Fabricio Itte, Alex Prates, Justin Fitzgerald, Justin Lang and Stu McKinnon for the work they put in day in day out. Also huge shout out to the boys and girls at @graciejiujitsusmeatongrange , @standstrongboxing , @liveathletic_ep and @bulldoggymcastlehill . Thank you to my manager Titus Day @6_degrees_group for making all the extra work run smoothly so I can have full focus on the fight. Thank you to all my sponsors @kaplan_homes @musclemealsdirect @musashinutrition @20foursports @bethesda @unibet . Lastly a big thanks to my family, friends and Fans, especially my wife @sofiamareewhittaker for looking after me and making this week real easy. I didn’t need to take the fight but I told you I would give you fireworks...hope you liked them