THACKERVILLE, Okla. – It took a loss – his first after a nine-fight undefeated streak – for Chidi Njokuani to realize he was in the wrong division.
Njokuani (18-5 MMA, 5-1 BMMA), who moved from welterweight to middleweight and defeated Hisaki Kato (8-3 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) on Friday at Bellator 189, talked about the move after the Spike-televised main-card bout, which aired on WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla.
Njokuani had success at 170 pounds, but once he fought at middleweight, he knew it was the right move.
“Now, this is how I should be feeling in a fight,” he told MMAjunkie after his unanimous-decision victory over Kato. “I shouldn’t be feeling so dead that my cornermen had to walk me to the scale, and then I had to act like I’m perky and (expletive) on the scale and weigh in. I shouldn’t be feeling like that.
“And the stress of going through the whole training camps and trying to keep my weight down? It was stressful, and it messes with your head – just stressing out about the weight cut. You should be worrying about techniques and getting better. All you’re doing is worrying about making weight. … It took a toll on me. I’m tired of doing that.”
With the Kato victory, which came via unanimous 30-27 scores, the 28-year-old American-Nigerian fighter and former kickboxer is now focused on his new home at 185 pounds. Just don’t expect him to make any specific callouts.
“I don’t even know,” he said. “Like I told everyone else, I don’t even know who’s in the division. … I haven’t put any thought into it. I haven’t done anything. I haven’t done any research.
“Like at 170 pounds, I was looking at everybody – (champ Douglas Lima), Koreshkov, Rory (MacDonald). And now, it’s not that I didn’t think these guys were a threat; I just wasn’t even looking. I wasn’t paying attention. I wouldn’t even know who to call out if I did want to call somebody out.”
Check out the full interview above.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Bellator 189 winner Chidi Njokuani relieved he no longer has to be dragged to scale