UFC Sao Paulo will be a fresh restart for Luis Henrique in the Octagon.
“KLB” is slated to meet Ryan Spann in Brazil on Sept. 22, stepping down to 205 pounds after a five-fight run as a heavyweight in the UFC, and that was his plan since day one in the company.
Henrique signed with the UFC in 2015 to face fellow Octagon newcomer — and future heavyweight title contender — Francis Ngannou in Florida, and was doing well until he gassed and got knocked out.
The Rio de Janeiro-native only took that fight because it was his way to get signed by the UFC, and tried to move down in weight after that, but kept getting fights at heavyweight.
After pulling out of UFC Belem earlier this year with an injury and undergoing biceps surgery, Henrique was finally given a chance to cut weight in the UFC and move back to his original weight class.
”I think I’ll be more competitive at light heavyweight,” Henrique told MMA Fighting. “If you look at the top 15 at heavyweight, it’s hard to see someone with my size — except (Daniel) Cormier, who is short. I think it will be good for me to drop down in weight.
”I’ll be stronger and faster without the extra weight I put on to fight at heavyweight. I think it will be great. But I can also fight at heavyweight if they need me, no problem. I can fight at both.”
The TFT fighter, who turns 25 later this month, went 2-3 as a heavyweight in the UFC, losing his last couple of fights to Marcin Tybura and Arjan Singh Bhullar after scoring back-to-back submission wins over Christian Colombo and Dmitry Smollakov in 2016.
”I learned a lot,” “KLB” said. “I had two wins after that (fight with Ngannou), then I accumulated these losses, but I think it will be great for me. God will bless me. No one will beat me anymore.”
With only 13 pounds left to lose more than a month before his next UFC bout, Henrique is already anxious for his post-fight celebration in Sao Paulo, eating pizza for the first time in months.
”I have a different mindset now, becoming more professional about that, especially now that I’m competing at this level,” Henrique said. “I try to keep my body as clean as possible.”