David Branch was supposed to face Yoel Romero in February. That fight was ultimately scrapped, but the former WSOF champ would still like to meet Romero, who fights for the middleweight title next month, in the Octagon one day.
David Branch was scheduled to face Yoel Romero at UFC on FOX 28 in February before Romero was pulled in favor of an interim title bout against former champ Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 a week prior. Romero finished Rockhold with a brutal knockout in the third round, but nothing Branch saw made the New York native think otherwise when it comes to fighting Romero.
Now coming off an upset stoppage win over Thiago Santos at UFC Fight Night 128 last month, Branch is still open to a Romero fight one day.
“I know what the guy is capable of,” Branch told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour (transcript via MMAFighting.com). “That’s what he’s capable of doing to people. He can go in there and beat the living hell out of people, and it looks really friggin’ scary, right? It does. Okay, yeah. You gotta understand that, if that’s what you want to do and that’s the kind of competition you have to go against.”
Branch clarified that even though he’s willing to fight the heavy-handed Romero, he’s not fearless; he has simply realized that certain matchups should be worrisome for a fighter and has been able to deal with that.
“If you see somebody like that, and it makes you nervous, that’s human energy, you know?” Branch said. “You’re going to get nervous with something like that. But if it’s a part of you that wants to go against the wave like that, then that’s the part of you that’s a warrior and you have to respond to that, you know? That’s the part of that that lets you know you’re alive. And if you’re in this business, I’m just speaking as a fighter, if you’re in this business, you understand what we’re talking about. You answer the bell.”
Romero is set to challenge champ Robert Whittaker for the middleweight title in a rematch at UFC 225 next month, so a fight with Branch doesn’t make the most sense as of now. But Branch knows things move fast in the rankings, so that could change sooner than later.
“I want to test myself against the best people, and at the time he’s the person that I chose to fight,” Branch said. “Robert Whittaker got hurt, and he’s in a position where he got to go up above, and I respect it. And everything happens for a reason, I guess? I’m here right now.”