UFC: Ilir Latifi reveals why he moved up to heavyweight, claims he won't drop down anymore
Ilir Latifi is making his debut in the heavyweight division in a fight against knockout artist Derrick Lewis at UFC 247 and in terms of the difference of size between the two men, Latifi definitely looks like the smaller guy.
It is understandable that Latifi is not one of the bigger heavyweights in the UFC but he wants to compete in the division for the rest of his career because competing at heavyweight means that he won't have to go through the rigors of a torturous weight cut anymore and he can step inside the Octagon in a healthy shape.
In a recent interaction with MMA Fighting, Latifi revealed the reason for deciding to move up to heavyweight.
“I just think lately my last few weight cuts in the 205-pound division were very hard. I was getting down as before. I wasn’t recovering after the weight cuts as I used to. I just thought let’s take a shot. If you’re not performing as you should because of the weight cuts and you’re not feeling good, I just wanted to see the possibility of fighting in the heavyweight division with the big guys. Because weight cutting all the time takes a toll on the body. With time and after a lot of weight cuts, I think it took a toll on the body.”
Latifi mentioned that he felt a different energy during the training camp ahead of his fight against former title contender Lewis, something the former credits to the fact that he isn't focused on having to make weight this time.
“Healthier and happier,” Latifi said when describing his mood. “Your body feels better. I was constantly weak during camps during the weight cuts because my body was under nourished.”
Speaking on the prospect of a return to the light heavyweight division, Latifi said that he doesn't see himself fighting at that weight class anymore.
“I don’t see myself fighting at 205 no more. I feel good at this weight so let’s take it from there. I just thought it was an amazing opportunity. I’m getting a shot at fighting one of the top five of the heavyweight division. It’s something that has always been in my nature. I love challenges. I love fighting the best. When the opportunity came, I was ready.”Published 09 Feb 2020, 04:11 IST