New Zealand-born UFC champion Robert Whittaker has taken to social media to praise his team, family and rival Yoel Romero following his UFC 225 victory.

Romero, of Cuba, was tipped to defeat Whittaker in the abandoned middleweight title showdown but lost due to a judge split decision.

Posting to Instagram, Whittaker wanted to express his respect to Romero, of whom he's defeated twice following Sunday's win.

"Let me start with showing respect to @yoelromeromma and his team. That was the hardest fight of my career and it was a war," he said.

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"Last night was my night though and I must say thanks to all the people that made it possible for me to go out there and perform."

Yesterday it was revealed that Whittaker broke his right thumb during the first round of the fight but fought on to win.

Two judges scored the fight 48-47 in favour of Whittaker while the other judge gave Romero the same score.

Whittaker, 27, also wanted to thank his coaching staff and his family, friends and fans for their support.

Robert Whittaker reacts after defeating Yoel Romero in UFC 225. Photo / Getty Images
Robert Whittaker reacts after defeating Yoel Romero in UFC 225. Photo / Getty Images

"Thanks to my coaches Fabricio Itte, Alex Prates, Justin Fitzgerald, Justin Lang and Stu McKinnon for the work they put in day in day out.

"Thank you to my manager Titus Day @6_degrees_group for making all the extra work run smoothly so I can have full focus on the fight.

"Lastly a big thanks to my family, friends and Fans, especially my wife @sofiamareewhittaker for looking after me and making this week real easy.

"I didn't need to take the fight but I told you I would give you fireworks...hope you liked them," he wrote.

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