UFC 240’s Erik Koch Done With Weight Cuts: I Don’t Want to Deplete My Brain

After a successful welterweight debut at UFC 240, Erik Koch says he’s doing with severe weight cuts.

Edmonton, AB — Anthony Pettis may have made the move before him, but Erik Koch told reporters backstage at UFC 240 on Saturday that it was his idea to make the jump up to welterweight. Koch got back in the win column in Edmonton, opening up the UFC 240 card against Kyle Stewart. He was the latest in a line-up of fighters, from Pettis to Michael Chiesa, to move up to 170lbs.

The fight went the distance, with a focus on grappling and Koch’s superior skill on the ground. Outside of a nasty right hand in the second round, Koch was rarely in any danger. Recapping the fight with reporters including Cageside Press, Koch said that Stewart “was definitely a lot more agile. I thought he was going to plod, come forward a little bit more. He was actually a little bit lighter on his feet. But it was one of those things, [I] tried to work the body but like I said he was being very evasive.”

A recurring theme for Koch following the bout was weight cutting. “In this fight, the little bit that I know about him, I know he cuts a lot of weight,” he said regarding Stewart. “I know what it’s like to cut that much weight, and I know what it’s like to have somebody on you constantly, clinching, and it’s tiring as hell. It’s one of those things, even after the first round, persevere, and just press, grind grind grind, eventually tire him out.”

Showing that grinding side of his game was another point Koch wanted to make, as the former featherweight and lightweight felt his ground game was being overlooked.

The Roufusport fighter made a point to show that “I’m well-rounded. And that’s one of the things, my last couple fights, I feel like my ground suffered, because I just cut too much weight. My muscles weren’t there, my energy wasn’t there. I didn’t have any pop. So I wanted to how even with the big boys, I can compete.”

Koch pointed out that he doesn’t really train with any lightweights, anyway. The last was Anthony Pettis, who has already made the move to 170. A trend he likes to see. “I think it’s good for the sport, because I think cutting weight’s dangerous. I mean I’ve been there. I used to cut, 45, I used to cut from 185, sometimes 190, down to 145,” he recalled.

“Another problem [is] that I said later on in my career, fighting at 70, I want to Donald Cerrone this.” Cerrone apparently has enough notoriety to become a verb. “What I mean by that is, if the UFC called me up in two weeks, I’d be like ‘yup, I’ll take it.’ I want that. At 45, I need like three months.”

The bottom line, when it comes to the move up, is that “I’m not trying to win bodybuilding competitions. I want to be able to fight, I want to stay healthy, I want to stay active. I think it’s awesome that everybody is kind of getting the gist and everybody is moving up to more of a healthy weight class. I think it’s just better for the sport.”

Koch’s late father, who passed away suddenly last year, always expected his son to move up. Another reason he made the move. “This is important for all of us, and I know it’s important for my mom too.”

As for future opponents, “whatever. Short notice, I don’t care.”

If there was any question as to how Koch would handle the power of true welterweights, it was likely answered by the right hand he ate from Kyle Stewart on Saturday.

“When we’re taking this water out of our organs, out of our brains — I get hit with shots in fights by smaller dudes, and be like ‘I got a little fuzzy, why did that hurt?'” Koch explained. That didn’t happen in Edmonton. “I felt great [against Stewart]. I felt like my ability to take punches was a lot better. I think, the guys are going to hit harder, you got your Tyron Woodley’s and stuff like that, who hit like trucks.”

But at the same time, the other side of it is that “I also want to be able to take a shot. I don’t want to deplete my brain.”

For more from UFC 240 winner Erik Koch, watch the full post-fight press scrum above!