Bantamweight Julio Arce faces off with Montel Jackson at UFC 281 this Saturday, and the 33-year old has seen a bit of a yo-yo effect in his career in terms of weight class.
Starting out at bantamweight in his first pro fight, Arce (18-5) then climbed to featherweight, finding considerable success on the regional circuit. However, now in the UFC, Arce recognized that it was time to move back down.
The realization came because “that’s the weight division that I belonged in, and the fact that all these guys at featherweight, you can clearly see the size difference,” Arce told The Top Turtle Podcast on Cageside Press ahead of UFC 281. “I mean I was holding my own in there, but if I want to be able to have any trajectory towards a championship belt, it would be at bantamweight in the right division.”
Adding to that, early in his career, “the weight cuts weren’t as structured as we have them now. So now, it makes it a lot easier to make it to bantamweight. So we’re like, let’s make this move and let’s do it right.”
The opposition at featherweight continued to grow in terms of stature. “These guys just kept getting freakin’ larger and larger. They threw a freakin’ 6’1 guy at me, I’m like ‘jesus, man this dude is huge.’ Even when I fought Sheymon Moraes and Hakieem Dawodu, you could clearly see the size difference between them and I, and I’m just clearly just much smaller. So I had to get to a division that I belonged in.”
In a bit of a Murphy’s Law situation, Arce has been paired up with a taller, longer opponent in Montel Jackson this Saturday.
“They throw all the frickin’ tall guys at me, but you know what, it is what it is. I was able to get an opponent,” said Arce. “I was trying to fight actually in July with my teammate Shane [Burgos] at UFC Long Island, that didn’t happen because I couldn’t find an opponent.” Arce then set his sights on UFC Paris, but once again, there was no opponent. “Then we actually didn’t know if this was going to happen or not, because they were having a hard time finding somebody, because everyone’s so active. Then we got Montel Jackson, I’m like ‘I’m in, let’s go!'”
As for the fight, Arce would tell us that it could be a knockout, submission, or decision, but “it’s gonna be a win no matter what!”
Julio Arce faces Montel Jackson on the preliminary card at UFC 281 this Saturday, November 12, 2022.