Former UFC title challenger Gilbert Melendez has explained why he has decided to move down to the featherweight division.
On Saturday, Melendez will make his 145-pound debut when he fights featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens at UFC 215.
Melendez is currently on a three-fight losing streak in the UFC. He is coming off losses in the lightweight division against Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, and Edson Barboza.
After losing his last three inside the Octagon, Melendez says he’s moving down to featherweight in order to get a fresh start.
“Definitely a fresh start,” Melendez said on a recent episode of the Fight Society podcast. “I’ve had a rough road at (lightweight). I’ve fought the best there and I’ve lost to some of them, but I’ve done well.
“I just feel like guys are becoming better at cutting weight and there’s a science to it now and cutting 20 pounds isn’t as bad if you can diet well. That’s what I’m really doing, I’m getting into my diet and I’m maximizing that. I want to be the bigger, longer fighter at (featherweight). Have that length advantage. I feel like I used to have that at 155 (pounds), but as the sport evolves you see a reach like mine at 73 inches, it used to be pretty long at 55 and now you have a ton of 76-inch reaches.
“I’m looking to go to 45 to get a fresh start. I used to be there and now that I’m dieting I feel good there. I feel this is where I should be.”
UFC 215 will take place Sept. 9 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.