Veteran fighter Travis Wiuff admits that a recent stint at light heavyweight resulted in some “scary” weight cuts, and though he’s now focused on the heavyweight division, he hopes to someday hold a second belt in his old weight class.
Wiuff recently posted a runner-up finish in Bellator’s 2012 light-heavyweight tournament. However, the 85-fight veteran had to make substantial 45-pound weight cuts – for three straight months – to get there.
“All three cuts I did for the tournament were tough, but the last one was really tough,” he said of his bout with Attila Vegh, who knocked out Wiuff and later won the title. “I think I passed out a few times, and they had to bring the scale to me, and I could barely stand on it. It got pretty ugly. So I do feel like I have unfinished business at 205, but I don’t think my body can handle the cut anymore.
“That’s the biggest reason why I moved back to heavyweight. I mean, I can move a 205-pound guy wherever I want him to be. With these heavyweights, I have to work a lot harder. I definitely feel like I can compete with all the light heavyweights, but it was too much of a cut for me. I’m getting older and, like I said, that last cut, it was actually kinda scary.”
So on Thursday, Wiuff (68-16 MMA, 4-1 BFC) co-headlines Bellator 93 against fellow heavyweight Ryan Martinez (8-2 MMA, 1-1 BFC). The bout airs on Spike TV from Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine.
With the recent retirement of champion Cole Konrad and the subsequent crowning of Alexander Volkov, Wiuff has his eye on a heavyweight title shot. Eventually, though, the 35-year-old former wrestler would like to try 205 pounds again.
“I’d like to eventually get this heavyweight belt and then drop back down to 205 and get the light-heavyweight belt,” he said. “I had a good run at 205, and now I think I can make a good run at heavyweight. I’d like to do it. Obviously I’m not looking past anybody. I’ve got a lot of work to do before I’d think about that, but the main thing for me is getting this heavyweight belt. Then, yeah, I’d definitely consider dropping back down.”
However, he stressed that a return would prompt more preparation. As he learned during his light-heavyweight tourney run, being at a lighter weight can give him confidence, thanks to his speed and size.
But it also left him sapped on fight day.
“Cutting 45 pounds takes a toll on your body,” he said. “Your body doesn’t react the same to the punches, and it slows you down. Mentally, I think it helps you. You feel good because you’re always in shape. … But what physically kills you is the dehydration. Your brain gets so dehydrated that it doesn’t take a hard shot, it doesn’t take much to turn your lights out. Your legs are always tired because you never come in with fresh legs. Physically, it’s tough, but hopefully you can rehydrate and get the right foods in you and the next day you’re ready to go.
“It’s kind of a guessing game because you never know how you’re going to feel for sure. You rehydrate, you eat the right things, but you never know how you’re going to feel the next day. Every time I’ve weighed in, that night, no matter how hard I try not to, I usually throw up. You’re so used to not eating – not eating normally, like, good stuff. You try to rehydrate, but you never know, so it’s really tough on you physically.”
Wiuff, who’s averaged nearly eight fights a year for 12 years, was on a 13-1 run before his his loss to Vegh and a subsequent overseas split-decision defeat to Maro Perak in November. They’re his first back-to-back defeats in nearly seven years.
So on Thursday, he’s simply focused on getting back in the win column.
“My prediction for this fight is that I’ll definitely be coming out with the victory,” he said. “It’s a tough fight for both of us. I think Ryan is really tough to finish, so I have to be prepared to win a hard three-round decision. I want to fight hard and fight well, especially with this being on Spike TV, and I think whoever wins will probably get invited to the next heavyweight tournament.”
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