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Rodrigo Damm returns to lightweight after weight-cutting issues

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Rodrigo Damm (11-6) is back to the lightweight division.

With a 2-1 record under the UFC banner, and coming off a decision victory over Mizuto Hirota, Damm returns to the 155-pound division to face Ivan Jorge (25-3) at UFC Fight Night 36 in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil, on Feb. 15. Forced to cancel a featherweight bout with Hacran Dias on October, Damm blames weight-cutting issues for his decision to cut less weight for his next UFC fights.

"I fought at 155 my whole career, but I dropped to 145 to fight at TUF Brazil 1," Damm said. "My body wasn’t resisting the weight cut anymore, and I was forced to cancel my last fight. I was suffering a lot to make weight. I’m back to a division where I feel great, where I fought great fights."

Damm was forced out of TUF: Brazil 1 due to kidney issues while cutting weight for a bout, and suffering the same problems a second time was enough for him to move back up.

"I’ll be back to the division I’m more comfortable, and I’m training better now," he said. "I’m really excited, in a great shape. He will feel my pressure, I can guarantee you that. It won’t be a good fight for him."

After six consecutive submission victories in Brazil, Jorge defeated Keith Wisniewski via decision in his UFC debut last September, but Damm is confident his weapons will be too much for him.

"Ivan Batman is a strong guy, likes to take the fight to the ground, but I’m not worried with his game to be honest," he said. "I’m a well-rounded fighter, seven-times wrestling national champion in Brazil and jiu-jitsu world champion, so I know he’ll have a hard time defeating me."

To get ready for the challenge, Damm started his camp at American Top Team, and he is now trains in Espirito Santo, Brazil.

"My wrestling is better now," he said. "I spent a month at American Top Team, trained with guys like Gleison Tibau, George Sotiropoulos and many others. It helped me a lot. My striking game is also great now. I can stand and bang against anyone today. My hands are heavier, and I know my opponent will be in trouble if I land them."

A middleweight bout between Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi headlines the card.

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