Aleksa Camur was one of 30 fighters to earn a UFC contract this summer as part of Dana White’s Contender Series, and his performance was amongst the most memorable.
The 23-year old fighter from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a stunning knockout after blasting Fabio Cherant with a flying knee in the second round to secure a TKO. Afterwards, White fielded a call from Camur’s teammate Stipe Miocic, praising Camur’s performance and telling the UFC president the up-and-comer needed to join the roster.
A few minutes later, Camur was officially part of the UFC. But despite his dominant win, he also heard a lot of questions about the weight class where he would compete.
Camur, who’s 6-feet tall, definitely won’t be the biggest light heavyweight in the UFC, which makes many in the know believe he’d be better at 185 pounds.
The Bosnian-born fighter, who now resides in Ohio, heard plenty of opinions about his future weight class. But he explains that cutting down to middleweight would likely do far more harm than good to his career.
“I’ve heard people saying go down to middleweight,” Camur said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I heard that (Michael) Bisping was saying that he’d like to see me at middleweight. Other people say I’m a good size for light heavyweight – not too heavy, not too light. Others saying they think I’m too small for it.
“I’m 23, about to turn 24, (and I’ve got some growing to do. I’m going to be constantly building up muscle; 185 pounds is a big cut for me, I think too much. I think I’m going to sacrificing some energy and muscle going into fight day. The plan as of right now is to stay at light heavyweight.”
According to Camur, he may not be the tallest fighter competing in the light heavyweight division, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to give up a lot of overall size.
“A lot of people don’t realize I walk around at 225 (pounds),” Camur said. “I’m walking around 20 pounds over weight right now. So I’m cutting 20 pounds already. Cutting to 185 would be a huge cut for me.
“I’ve never done it. I’ve always cut to 205, and I’ve grown into the division since when I started. I have plenty of room to grow. I think I’m going to grow into this division even more.”
Camur also points to the skills he believes will make him a tough matchup for anybody in the 205-pound division. That’s a different approach than depleting his body in an attempt to be bigger than his opponents at middleweight.
“I’m a good level light heavyweight,” Camur said. “I do have power, but I also have a lot more speed than people think. I’m exciting. I threw that flying knee. I don’t think a lot of guys can fight like that in the light heavyweight division, and I’ve got more up my sleeve. I didn’t even scratch the surface of my skill set in that fight, so the plan right now is just to stay at light heavyweight.
“If I have to grow into it, I’ve got plenty of room and plenty of time.”
With the weight class debate settled, the next question is Camur’s UFC debut.
As of now, he’s dealing with a few lingering injuries that will keep him sidelined for the time being, but Camur hopes to book his first official fight inside the Octagon before the end of the year.
That’s when the real work begins.
“There’s always a next step,” Camur explained. “When I started my career, I was just like I want to win this fight. Each time I’d get a win, I’d almost grow hungrier and hungrier. At this level, it’s multiplied. So I won a contract to the UFC, now what am I going to do next? Now I’ve got to get ready for my debut. After the debut, I plan on winning what’s after that.
“I was just talking to Stipe how you’re always going to have that hunger. You can never win in MMA. As a fighter, you always have something to chase. Stipe has plenty to chase but he kind of beat the whole game. He’s on top of the mountain. He’s as close as it gets to winning completely. I’m nowhere near that so I want to chase that. There’s always a next step.”