Robert Whittaker to defend middleweight title against Yoel Romero at UFC 225

Whittaker and Romero square off back in July 2017.
Whittaker and Romero square off back in July 2017. Photo credit: Getty

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has locked in a familiar opponent for his potential debut title defence.

The Kiwi-born, Australia-raised fighter will take on Cuban Yoel Romero in a rematch at June's UFC 225 in Chicago, has reported.

Whittaker (19-4) earned a unanimous decision over Romero (13-2) in their original bout at UFC 213 in July to secure the interim middleweight title, and was later deemed the division's official champion following Georges St-Pierre's decision to vacate the 185-pound belt.

Injury and a bout of chicken pox forced Whittaker out of his scheduled fight against Luke Rockhold in Perth in February, resulting in an interim title match-up between the American and Romero.

Romero was ruled out of contention for the title after missing weight, but a third-round TKO victory over Rockhold ultimately solidified his spot as the No. 1 contender.

Known "The Soldier of God", Romero is a highly-decorated wrestler, winning silver at the Sydney 2000 Olympics Games and a slew of other golds at both World Championship and World Cup meets.

The 40-year-old's explosive blend of raw power and athleticism has seen him finish 11 of his 13 wins by knock-out.

The event will be the first UFC pay-per-view to be hosted in the "Windy City", and is also expected to feature former WWE superstar CM Punk in an anticipated return to the Octagon.

Other bouts already confirmed for the undercard include Alistair Overeem against Curtis Blaydes and Joseph Benavidez vs Sergio Pettis.