Fighting out of Pinar del Rio, Cuba by way of Miami, Florida, United States, Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero, 43, is no longer signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This was confirmed by his manager Malki Kawa, who thanked the UFC’s president Dana White, general counsel Hunter Campbell and matchmaker Mick Maynard.
“While we didn’t expect Romero’s time in the UFC to end like this, we are grateful for the opportunities Dana White, Hunter Campbell and Mick Maynard gave him over the years,” Kawa told ESPN. “He’s ready to move on now and resume his career and we are already talking to other promotions as we speak.”
Competing professionally since 2009, Romero joined the UFC in 2013. From 2013 to 2020, he won nine out of 13 fights in the promotion.
There are still no details about Romero’s next move. But if he joins ONE Championship, he will not be the first mixed martial artist to sign with the Singapore-based martial arts promotion after competing in the UFC.
Several MMA fighters who are currently signed with ONE Championship are former UFC fighters. Among them are Arjan Bhullar, Tom DeBlass, Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Sage Northcutt, Kazuki Tokudome, Eddie Alvarez, Daichi Abe, Leandro Issa, John Lineker, Demetrious Johnson and the reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera.
Born in Pinar del Rio on April 30, 1977, Romero was a freestyle wrestler before becoming a professional MMA fighter. He represented Cuba at senior level in the FILA Wrestling World Championships.
Representing Cuba, Romero won the silver medal in the freestyle competition in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and finished in fourth place in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. He also won a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
As a professional MMA fighter, Romero competed in the light heavyweight division from 2009 to 2011. The Pinar del Rio native went on hiatus in 2012 and he has been competing in the middleweight division since 2013.
If Romero joins ONE Championship and competes in the middleweight division, his strongest opponent will be reigning ONE Middleweight World Champion Reinier de Ridder. But since the Cuban MMA fighter is a newcomer, he will have to face other contenders in the division first including Vitaly Bigdash and Aung La N Sang.
Also, Romero will not be the first Cuban MMA fighter to join ONE Championship. Competing in the promotion’s strawweight division, Gustavo “El Gladiador” Balart, 33, is from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.