He may not have walked through the UFC’s door just yet, but Anthony Romero is still knocking.
Canada’s Romero (8-0) will go to work in the LFA cage when he takes on the United States’ Zach Juusola (11-6) in a lightweight matchup at LFA 96 on Friday night in Park City, KS.
For Romero, 23, this will be his first fight since his win over Mike Breeden on Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) in August.
Although he didn’t secure a UFC contract from his DWCS appearance, Romero said competing in the LFA cage is the perfect opportunity to show, once again, why he belongs on the sport’s biggest stage.
“I’m excited for this opportunity. There’s a lot of people that have graduated from this organization into the UFC, and have done well in the UFC. Even my training partner, Aaron Jeffery, competed for LFA in the main event, and he’s super close to getting to that next step,” said Romero in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I’m also excited to show why I should be in the UFC. I know that was my opportunity on the Contender Series, but you can always take the criticism and put it into something that can benefit your career. I want to show I belong in the best league in the world.”
Romero was dominant in his DWCS victory over Breeden, taking the fight on all three judges scorecards with scores of 30-26, 30-27, and 29-28, but wasn’t awarded a UFC contract in the end.
Despite his strong performance, Romero said he wasn’t surprised he didn’t receive a contract, but was happy with how he performed.
“I wasn’t surprised because I can never be too sure about anything, especially with Dana White and the decisions he makes,” said Romero.
“Am I proud of my performance? Yes, I would do that again for sure. I feel like I showed all my skills in that fight.”
UFC or nothing for Romero
Following Romero’s DWCS win and not being awarded a UFC contract, there was a large amount of speculation on social media that he would be signed by another major promotion.
However, Romero said he didn’t receive any formal offers from other promotions, but, even if he had, he wouldn’t have felt right accepting them.
“I’ve always said, from when I started this, I want to be in the UFC, and I feel it wouldn’t be right in my career to go anywhere else,” said Romero.
“It’s not a knock on any other organization, it’s just, for myself and my own goals, the UFC is something I want to achieve. I feel like it wouldn’t be the same going on without being in the UFC.”
Romero was originally scheduled to face Alex Trinidad (5-2) on Friday night before he was forced out of action due to injury.
Romero will now face a more experienced opponent in Juusola, but said he has no concerns over the change or the timing of the change.
“I’m very confident in my skills that I can compete with the best. It doesn’t really matter who’s in front of me, I feel like I can display the highest level of technique in the sport,” said Romero.
“I’m not afraid of the opponent switch. I just put my chin down and display my skills in front of the world.”
“I’d like to thank my team (Niagara Top Team), Parabellum MMA, and everyone for the support.” Follow Romero on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM