Timing can be everything. Just ask UFC middleweight Yoel Romero. Through three Octagon appearances, the Olympic silver medalist is undefeated, but he’s gained somewhat of a reputation as a slow starter. Perhaps it’s a deliberate game plan, though. Could Romero simply be biding his time, patiently waiting for that perfect moment at which to strike?

“Yes,” Romero admitted to The MMA Corner.

In his most recent fight, which took place on Jan. 15 at UFC Fight Night 35, Romero met Derek Brunson. After two rounds, UFC President Dana White had Romero down on his scorecard. The Cuban wrestler needed a finish, and he knew it as well as anyone.

Romero (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Romero (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

“I did have a sense of urgency in the third round,” explained Romero. “Derek was a tough fight, and I’m still young to the sport of MMA. I realized a lot of things I need to work on from that fight. I also am very patient when I fight, looking for the knockout opportunity, but that also puts me at risk.”

After more than 13 minutes of combat, the middleweight found that perfect moment. Unleashing a barrage of punches and elbows, he finished Brunson and emerged with his hand raised. His opponent wasn’t so lucky. Brunson was on the receiving end of a beatdown that resulted in a broken jaw and a trip to the local hospital in Duluth, Ga. It was another impressive finish for Romero, but fans and some in the media opted to focus on something other than his TKO finish. They wanted to talk about a suspicious stain on the backside of his fight trunks.

“I thought it was ridiculous,” Romero said. “It was a sweat stain. When you wet the color purple, what happens?”

Romero’s performances should garner plenty of focus in their own right. He entered the Octagon for the first time in April 2013 and landed a flying knee to the head of Clifford Starks that led to a 92-second knockout finish. He returned in November to best fellow top prospect Ronny Markes via a third-round knockout. Then came his January victory over Brunson. It certainly put Romero into the discussion as a possible top-10 middleweight, and it even raises the possibility that another win or two could put him in title contention.

“I think the UFC is doing a great job in taking me up and building me as a fighter,” said Romero, who cited his experience as the biggest obstacle to overcome in making a run at championship gold. “I don’t think any further in the future than the fight at hand.”

The fight at hand places Romero opposite Brad Tavares, a 12-1 fighter who is also threatening to break into the division’s upper echelon. The two meet on April 19 in Orlando, Fla., on the main card of UFC on Fox 11.

“Tavares is a very good striker. Very quick,” Romero said. “I have a lot of respect for him and have taken this fight very seriously.”

If there’s one area where Tavares exceeds Romero’s previous UFC opponents, the Cuban believes it’s in the form of his fight strategy. Tavares’ strategy is responsible for securing the 26-year-old Hawaiian seven wins in his eight UFC appearances. Six of those wins, plus the lone loss, came on the judges’ scorecards.

“I never want to go to decision in any fight,” Romero admitted.

In his current streak, Tavares has primarily outworked strikers en route to decision wins. Romero has supplied plenty of evidence of his own explosive striking, but he also possesses world-class wrestling. In fact, Romero defeated college wrestling icon Cael Sanderson on three occasions on the wrestling mats. Given the match-up with Tavares, does this mean we will see more of Romero’s wrestling in his fourth trip to the Octagon?

“We will see…,” responded Romero, intent on not giving away much of his game plan. “I’ve been working a lot with the bigger guys at American Top Team Coconut Creek and doing a lot more sparring.”

A win, especially a convincing finish, over Tavares would boost Romero’s stock tremendously. In order to continue his climb up the middleweight ladder, Romero would need to set his sights on a top-10 opponent. He actually has one in mind.

Romero (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Romero (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

“I’ve offered to fight Tim Kennedy in the past,” Romero revealed. Kennedy has his own challenge in front of him in the immediate future with a headlining affair against Michael Bisping at The Ultimate Fighter: Nations Finale.

Before Romero ever set foot in the UFC’s Octagon, ventured into the Strikeforce cage or moved to Florida to train at American Top Team, he lived in Germany. It’s where he trained, and it’s where he fought three of his first four professional MMA contests. The UFC is bound for Berlin in late May, and the opportunity to fight in his former locale is certainly an intriguing one for the Olympian.

“I would love to fight in Germany,” he admitted. “I consider Germany one of my homes. Any opportunity to fight there would be welcomed.”

If he emerges unscathed from his fight with Tavares, the May 31 card in Berlin could be within reach. However, it’s more likely that Romero will have to wait longer for any such return to his old home.

The years aren’t slowing down, either. Romero captured his silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and entered the world of mixed martial arts later in his athletic career, in 2009. He’s now 36 years old, but retirement is not on his mind.

“I’m young to the sport of MMA and am in excellent condition,” he said. “It’s not like I’ve been fighting since I was 18 or 20. I have a long road ahead in this sport.”

That road is full of possibilities. All that’s required is patience. It’s all about timing. Don’t think Romero doesn’t know this. When the time is right, he will strike.

Yoel would like to thank his coaches at American Top Team and his training partners. He would also like to thank ML Management and his sponsors: Torque, Alienware, Musclepharm, Revgear, Dynamic Fasteners, Training Mask, Lexani and Rolling Big Power. Follow Romero on Twitter: @YoelRomeroMMA