Anthony Romero could very well be the next big thing to come out of Canada.

“The Genius” is part of the new breed of mixed martial artists who start young. Romero began training at the age of five and competing at the legal age of 18 in Canada. Since his professional debut in 2017, he has been perfect and although MMA was never the plan, Romero has grown to love the sport.

It should go without saying, but Anthony has the mindset and discipline to become a force in the lightweight division, regardless of promotion.

Falling in love with the fight game.

Guided and motivated by his parents, Romero learned how to protect himself from bullies training Taekwondo. During Anthony’s early teenage years, he was already training with adults. What started as a class for self-defense lead to a serious relationship with the sport. It was being surrounded by the environment of war preparation where Anthony ultimately decided to pursue the life of a prizefighter.

“To be able to start as a kid and carry on the experience is a lot.”

The Canadian knew he wanted to be a professional athlete- it wasn’t becoming a fighter necessarily. However, in his pursuit, fighting took its course and Romero has yet to look back. He is the first fighter in his family, paving the way for his younger sibling who have decided to follow in his footsteps.

Although dedicated to Taekwondo at a young age, the life of an athlete is no easy one at such a young age. Exhuasted by the sport and ready for something more exciting, Romero took a break when boredom hit, and watching UFC filled his newly found free-time. After noticing that UFC fighters did not mimic what he was learning with Taekwondo, he pursued MMA and the story has been writing itself ever since.

A role model for his younger siblings.

Anthony may be the first in his family to compete, but he most definitely won’t be the last. His younger brother and sister have both decided to mold their own paths in combat sports.

Romero’s little brother is currently focusing on boxing. He won the Golden Gloves in Canada and wants to compete in the Olympics one day. His sister trains Jiu-Jitsu and if you ask Romero, he’ll be the first to tell you how nervous he gets watching them compete.

Ideally, he’d love for his siblings to follow his lead into MMA, but until then, he doesn’t want to interfere with their dreams and training. Anthony allows them to do what they love, while he supports their every move.

They don’t call him “The Genius” for nothing.

Not only is Romero a role model for his siblings inside the cage, he is also one outside of it, having graduated with his degrees from Notre Dame and Brock University.

Anthony’s parents pushed him to pursue a degree and today, he’s forever grateful. “It’s a tough sport and anything can happen in there,” said Romero. “The future comes quick.” He may be focused on fighting right now, but Anthony’s commitment towards pursing his education will come in handy later in life.

It’s even paying off now. At 22 years old, Romero has his own business on the side for personal training. He designs programs for kids and older people; it’s something he enjoys, and it helps with expenses when he’s not competing.

Anthony is an educated fighter, he’s also a smart one who takes minimal damage in fights. Known for his technical abilities, the nickname seems obvious, however, during Romero’s younger days, his coach shouted him out for being a genius while doing unorthodox Jiu-Jitsu setups. The name has stuck with him and has carried into his mixed martial arts career.

The Canadian prospect has his sights set.

A year ago, Romero was ready to transition to the UFC. Today, it’s still the goal. “I want to be known as one of the greatest fighters ever,” said Romero. Hoping to book a fight in September, Anthony is eyeing a future Contender Series bout or a King of the Cage title shot for the final fight on his contract.

“I’m waiting. They had a champion, I’m not sure what happened to him, he hasn’t fought in two years. I believe the title is vacant, it would be nice to fight for the belt.”

Coming off a win over Juan Roman in February via first-round TKO, the Canadian is hopeful for a title shot opportunity in his next fight with the promotion.

Whoever King of the Cage decides to put in front of him, he’s ready. Anthony Romero just wants to fight.

Listen to our full interview with Anthony Romero, on The Scrap’s official SoundCloud:

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Joel Torres is a co-owner of The Scrap and its current CEO. Torres is obsessed with MMA and holds a Masters of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology from University of Southern California. Make sure to follow Joel on Twitter (@joelisacoolkid).