Jared Gordon was all ready for his featherweight debut in the UFC, and then suddenly his plans changed.
After doing a mock weight cut earlier this year to show the UFC he can safely make 145 pounds, Gordon was expected to officially drop down to the lighter division. He’s fought several times at featherweight before, and made his UFC debut in 2017 at featherweight, but missed weight by three pounds. His next two fights were both at lightweight.
Gordon said it was after he moved to Milwaukee from his native New York to train at Roufusport that he decided to stay at lightweight. Gordon said his new head coach Duke Roufus suggested he abort his plan of returning to featherweight. And it seems as if it wasn’t too difficult to convince Gordon to do so.
“The UFC was allowing me to go back down to featherweight, they granted me my wish. I worked my ass off for it,” Gordon told Bloody Elbow on Friday, one day before he meets Joaquim Silva at UFC on FOX 31. “I moved to Milwaukee, and Duke was like, ‘No, I don’t want you cutting all that weight.’ I thought about it, and I was like, ‘OK.’”
Gordon said he’s “definitely happy” with his decision, because much of his training and diet regime would have had to change.
“I would have had to have a completely different diet leading up to the fight,” Gordon said. “I was eating Thai food two weeks ago, which is obviously not the healthiest food around. It would’ve been very, very tough. I would’ve had a completely different physique. It’s definitely a great decision for me.
“Diet is the main thing, but I’d probably have to be doing more cardio, and using more strategic things to get my weight lower, and maybe not strength training as much.”
For Gordon, it’s either fighting smaller fighters — giving himself an advantage — at featherweight, or having somewhat of a size disadvantage but feeling much better at lightweight. He said considering the health benefits he’s noticed as a lightweight, there are more positives there than at featherweight.
“There’s pros and cons to both weight classes — kill myself, feel miserable, get injured easier, and be the bigger guy, or feel better during camp, not be as miserable, and be the better guy,” Gordon said. “Being bigger is like old school. Things are changing, and I’m trying to evolve with the sport. I think being better is more important than being bigger.
“Leading up to training camp, I didn’t get injured. When I was going to 145, I would get injured easier, because guys are bigger than you, and you’re sucked out, you’re drained during practice. ... At 155, I’ll be ready to go (with a) full gas tank.
Gordon said he expects he’ll stay at 155 pounds for the rest of his career. He’s not at all disappointed his run as a featherweight has come to an end, because ultimately, he’ll always have a size disadvantage no matter what weight class he’s at.
“The only reason I really wanted to move down was because guys at 155 were taller and longer than me, but guys at 145 are taller and longer than me also,” Gordon said. “Both of the divisions are incredibly competitive, so it doesn’t really matter to me which one it was.”