Adesanya (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) lost his middleweight belt in an upset unanimous decision loss to Strickland (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC) last month at UFC 293. Prior to the defeat, Adesanya was coming off back-to-back title fights against Alex Pereira. Adesanya lost to Pereira by knockout at UFC 281 last November but later avenged his loss with a knockout of his own at UFC 287 in April.
Romero, who lost a lackluster decision to Adesanya in March 2020 at UFC 248, thinks the damage accumulated in both fights against Pereira factored into Adesanya’s performance against Strickland.
“What I think is right now, when you have a fight and you take the damage, like Alex make against Izzy, now Izzy has a little problem, not too much,” Romero said on the Overdogs Podcast. “That’s what I’m thinking. Now he’s scared a little bit because he needs more time to recover. When you take a lot of punches in one fight, you lose – no excuses. Maybe if he had more time to recover, the fight would be different. Believe me … when he lost to Alex, he took a lot of punches.”
Adesanya has been very active throughout his career, with his three title fights against Pereira and Strickland coming in less than a calendar year. Romero would like to see Adesanya get a rematch with Strickland, but not right away.
“If he’s (Du Plessis) good, that’s the guy he needs to fight,” Romero said of Strickland’s next opponent. “After this, ‘Killa Gorilla’ (Cannonier) and after this, the rematch with Izzy.”