Despite winning at middleweight on Dana White’s Contender Series this week, newly minted UFC fighter Maki Pitolo is willing to move back to 170lbs.
Las Vegas, NV — Get ready for Coconut Bombs, UFC fans. While that sounds like either an island weapon or something you’d order at a swim-up bar, it’s actually the nickname if Hawaii’s Maki Pitolo, one of five fighters to earn a UFC contract on this week’s edition of Daan White’s Contender Series.
Pitolo, competing as a middleweight, finished Justin Sumter within a round thanks to some nasty body shots. Now, he’ll have his next fight in the UFC, in short a dream come true.
“Words can’t explain. I’m super happy,” he told media members including Cageside Press following the fight. “It’s been a long road for me, a lot of ups and downs, but I love this game, and this game has made me who I am today.”
“I’m just stoked, man. I can’t believe this is happening right now,” he exclaimed. “But hard work and dedication. This is happening right now.”
Pitolo had to wait through several more fights before finding out if he’d earned a UFC deal or not. “I got that finish, and then I thought I was okay. Here we go, right? I got a good finish, I’m possibly in the books, then another finish, another finish, another finish, like ‘f*ck, what’s going on?!?'” Then came the shock announcement that every winner was UFC-bound. “I’m super happy we all got to the UFC. It’s awesome. It only means one thing, we put on a damn good show.”
The talk surrounding Pitolo after the fight, however, was weight. He’s, simply put, somewhat small for the higher weight classes. It’s something Dana White noted as well, saying the promotion would get him over to the Performance Institute to work on weight cutting.
“I fought the majority of my career in the welterweight division. If I can make that trek back to the 170lb division, then I will,” Pitolo said afterward. “That’s where he wants me, that’s where I’m going to be, that’s where I’m going to reign supreme.”
Later, he added that in regards to cutting weight, “I didn’t really know how to do [it], so if I can get up there with the world’s best and learn how to do it the right way, I’m sure I’ll be in great hands and you’ll see an even better fighter.”
For more from Dana White’s Contender Series 2019 Week 3 winner Maki Pitolo, watch the full post-fight press scrum above!