Ilia Topuria is not leaving the featherweight division.
Despite weight-related issues for his last fight and a lightweight bout booked for March, the rising UFC contender is not saying goodbye to his career at 145 pounds.
Topuria (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is scheduled to take on Jai Herbert on March 19. The 155-pound booking comes after Topuria was forced off last month’s UFC 270 by the California Athletic Commission due to weight cutting concerns trying to make the 146-pound limit just hours before official weigh-ins.
“Well, basically what happened was that in the last week, as we know with weight cutting, it’s not an easy process,” Topuria told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “So whenever they would do the medical check ups they would tell me that my pressure was low and my palpitations were hard, but that’s what happens when you’re cutting weight. The doctor told me on Thursday night that he wasn’t sure if he was going to approve me or not to continue cutting weight. Then on Friday in the early morning, they stopped me from fighting.”
Topuria is confident he would’ve made the featherweight limit if allowed to continue cutting weight. He does admit it was the toughest weight cut he’s had and felt something was off.
“I’m sure I would’ve made 145 pounds, but the truth is that I wasn’t in good conditions,” Topuria said. “I wasn’t in the conditions that I normally find myself in. There was something happening to me. I wasn’t well. I’m not going to say that they stopped the fight and I was completely fine. I was not well and they checked me out and they didn’t approve me.”
Despite the weight-cutting incident ahead of UFC 270, Topuria is certain he’ll continue his career at 145 pounds. He plans to compete at both featherweight and lightweight in order to be more active since cutting down to 145 pounds takes him more time. His main focus will be featherweight, as he has ambitions of holding the UFC belt in that division.
“It’s basically to be more active, so I can fight with more frequency,” Topuria said regarding his move to lightweight for UFC London. “When I was fighting at 145, and I’m still fighting there, I would need a lot of time in between fights because I would need time after the weight cuts and it was all so I could recover.
“It’s super tough to cut the weight and to compete almost right away again it’s almost impossible. So in the meeting that I had, they opened my eyes a bit and now I decided to compete in both weight classes. The objective doesn’t change, it’s the same. I want to dominate the 145-pound division. So at 155 I will be there, and obviously when the time comes, there will be a day where I take care of that division, but right now my focus is elsewhere, it’s at 145.”
Ilia Topuria def. Ryan Hall at UFC 264: Best photos
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