Andrade won’t completely close that door, but a lot would have to change for him to consider returning to bantamweight. The experienced Brazilian, who defeated former UFC titleholder Renan Barao in his return to featherweight in November 2019, admits that performing as a 135-pounder wasn’t ideal nor healthy.
“It was always tough to make 135 because it was a monstrous dehydration,” Andrade said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Who knows. … If we can do a good job and everything, maybe [I can go down again]. For now, we’ll continue at 145.”
Andrade, who generally fought once a year as a bantamweight, believes he can be more active with an easier weight cut. Unfortunately for him, though, a serious shoulder injury — and the COVID-19 pandemic — forced him to stay on the sidelines for an entire year in 2020.
Finally back in action, “D’Silva” takes on Lerone Murphy on Wednesday at UFC Fight Island 7. He admits he actually hoped for a better-ranked foe in the octagon following a win over a former champion, but he didn’t really expect it to come to fruition.
“The only thing we really need is to be doing what we do every single day, right?” he said. “God knows all things. If that’s what I got, it’s all good. The UFC has some small things, some [fighters] talk too much, a lot of marketing and business. Sometimes we want something but it’s kind of hard [to get it], but it is what it is. What matters the most is that I’m getting to do what I do.”
The soft-spoken fighter has won 26 of 30 professional MMA fights since 2007, including UFC victories over Renan Barao, Marlon Vera, Henry Briones and Cody Gibson, but he feels “maybe” he lacks recognition from fans, media and UFC officials.
“I don’t like to talk about myself, but if others do it for me, OK,” he said. “I should at least get something extra, right, but thank god we’ve only fought good fighters, fighters that are ranked or even champions, but what can I do? The company has its ways, so it’s all good.
“Each fighter acts one way. You have to be who you are. You can’t invent something you aren’t. I’ve seen people [start talking trash] and it backfires most of the time. You have to be who you are and that’s OK.”
Murphy, his opponent on the first UFC show of 2021, is unbeaten in 10 professional bouts, including a split draw versus Zubaira Tukhugov and a devastating first-round knockout over Ricardo Ramos.
Would a good finish over an unbeaten English prospect boost Andrade’s UFC career? Maybe. Yet all he cares about is to “please the spectator and pursue the victory at all costs.”