Las Vegas, NV – Making his UFC welterweight debut at UFC Vegas 73 against Andre Fialho on Saturday night former middleweight Joaquin Buckley says he should have been at 170-pounds the entire time.
“We good! We’re right where we belong man. I woke up at I think 178 today so the weight feels good. My energy is high and I’m feeling good, I look good,” Buckley told reporters on Wednesday.
“I don’t look all sucked out and depleted like a lot of these fighters. Yeah we 100.”
The move to welterweight seems to have been long overdue for Buckley who fought at middleweight for his entire stint so far. Buckley said that he didn’t cut weight to make 185-pounds so the move to 170 hasn’t been too difficult.
“I should have been here the whole time, but it is what it is. I came here for that check. That’s the only reason why I was at middleweight. They gave me a opportunity to fight at 185 when they seen me fighting at 185 for LFA, and that’s why I stayed there,” Buckley said.
“Getting those knockouts at 185 I felt good because a lot of people don’t realize I didn’t cut any weight to make middleweight. So I walked around 185, 183, you know.”
The move to welterweight came with a lifestyle change for Buckley who can no longer just walk into the cage and fight without cutting. It’s not something he sees as a sacrifice or a problem.
“I wouldn’t say sacrifice, but actually be disciplined on what I eat, with my nutrition, but it’s better for me. Way more healthier for myself and my conditioning is even better because I have to work on my conditioning more. I feel like I’m in a healthier weight class for myself,” he said.
After a 5-4 run at middleweight in the UFC the move to welterweight was one Buckley saw as necessary. The damage he took in some of those fights, specially the knockout losses, was possibly the biggest reason for the change.
“I got tired of getting knocked out. I ain’t going to lie to you. Being at 185 you’ve got a lot of heavy hitters out there. One thing about me, mentally, I’m not scared to fight anybody, but sometimes that’s the problem,” he said.
“So it’s not about being scared, it’s about being smart, so right now I feel like me being at 170 I feel like even though I took losses at 185 they prepared me for these moments at welterweight.”
The matchup with Fialho is one that fans are looking forward to as both fighters are primarily strikers and have very aggressive styles.
“I think the UFC want me to catch a good body. This is a good matchup for me though. This guy is going to come in there and try to bang. He’s going to give me everything I’m looking for,” Buckley said.
“It’s going to be exciting for me. I just feel like this is the time to show up and show out. No disrespect to any other fighter on (the card) but for me I just feel like ain’t nobody fitting to do it like I do it.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Joaquin Buckley above. He takes on Andre Fialho at UFC Vegas 73 on Saturday night.