Jorge Masvidal was doing very well as a lightweight, cruising to three wins in a row before he met Al Iaquinta at UFC Fight Night 63. In his mind -- and in the mind of plenty of others -- he won that fight, too. Yet two of the three judges gave the decision to Iaquinta, which prompted Masvidal to contemplate life as a fighter.
Namely, life at 155 pounds, which he swore off of that day in April after the scorecards were read.
During an appearance on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, the 30-year old Masvidal said his decision to move to welterweight had long been floating around in his head. But after the Iaquinta, one thing became clear to him: He was done competing as a lightweight.
"I did feel like [taking time off] initially, right after I was very upset," he said. "But I definitely knew right then and there that I wasn’t going back to 55. I just wanted to compete and have fun and get as many fights as I could. I just knew exactly at that point that I wouldn’t go back to 55."
Recently the USADA, the third-party agency heading the UFC’s new Anti-Doping Program, announced that IVs would be banned going forward. Many fighters, particularly wrestlers who’ve had to cut weight for years, rehydrate after weight cuts intravenously. The ban will take effect in October, allowing for a grace period for fighters.
That news also prompted Masvidal to head north to welterweight.
"I was definitely done with 155, then when I heard they ended up banning IVs I was like, there’s no way I can make 55," he said. "I lose about 18 pounds the last two days [when competing at 155] of just straight water, so for me, to take the IVs away, there’s no way I could make 55. If it was…let’s say they just banned 170, that it was either 55 or 85, I’d go to 185 before I’d go to 55.
"I can’t. My body fat at 173 is five percent, so the rest is just straight water that I lose. I still got to get to 156, and I just ain’t got that much body fat at that weight."
Masvidal (28-9), who trains out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, said he’s heard rumblings from other fighters who don’t like the idea of IVs being banned.
"I’ve heard more complaining and bitching and stuff, I haven’t officially heard from guys that they are going to go up in weight," he said. "But I have not heard, not one person who is happy about it. I just don’t understand, if what they can explain to us exactly why. They’re saying it’s because of steroids, that you can filter out the steroids with IVs and stuff, but, I mean, I don’t know. There has to be a way that we can get hydrated and keep it safe."
Masvidal will face Cezar Ferreira in the co-main event at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 21 on July 12 in Las Vegas. It will be his 170-pound debut. It will also be Ferreira’s welterweight debut. "Mutante" is moving down from middleweight.
Asked if that set-up -- a 155-pounder and a 185-pounder meeting in the middle – might be too much for him, Masvidal said he wasn’t overly concerned.
"We’ll find out," he said. "But I don’t think he’s going to be too anything for me. My speed, my reflexes and wrestling ability is just going to make for a great fight. I don’t think this guy can take me down. I haven’t seen too much tape of him or anything like that, but those 85ers are slow man compared to 55, especially somebody like me who’s on the faster side of the 55ers. So I don’t think there’s going to be any threat he has for me."
While Masvidal has seven fights as a lightweight since defeating Justin Wilcox back in Strikeforce in 2012 -- a stretch in which he went 5-2 -- he was already mulling a move to welterweight back then.
"I’ve been wanting to go to 170 for a long time," he said. "After my [Gilbert] Melendez fight, in the Wilcox fight I had a real tough time cutting weight, and around that time I said, man, I want to go to 70. I run a tremendous amount of miles just to get down to the 70s, so I want to see how I perform if I don’t have to wear myself out so much the week of the fight, plus all the running I’m doing now.
"I just want to go out and compete. Plus the main thing is, at 55 I need a good amount of time to prepare just to make the weight cut. At 70 I can just take fights as they come and just compete as much as I want."