Romero, 41, weighed in at 186 pounds in his first attempt Friday.
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As a result, New Zealand-fighter Whittaker will have to wait to defend his title after last fighting nearly a year ago in July.
Given that he was competing for the UFC belt, he had to make "championship weight" of 185lbs or under.
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But Whittaker has agreed to save the main event and face him in a non-title bout. "Absolutely it's on. (Romero) missed by 0.2 (lbs)", White said on the official weigh-in broadcast.
The fight will still take place, and Whittaker will retain his title if he wins. "Why would I? I might as well fight someone heavier than me". CM Punk comes in with a deeper grappling background than Jackson and that could set him up for the upset in a fight that is highly likely to have an early stoppage.
Now fully healthy, Whittaker will be aiming to lift his professional MMA record to 20-4 with a second straight victory over Romero, the No. 1 contender in the UFC middleweight division.
Romero was granted two hours to see if he could lose that last pound but did not show up until 10 minutes before the cut-off point. Under the rules of the Illinois State Athletic Commission, Romero was allowed two hours to cut one pound. "I don't know what they're going to do".