Drastic weight cuts have become difficult to continue so he is stepping up to welterweight
Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos says excruciating weight cuts have prompted his decision to move up a weight class.
From now on, the Brazilian will fight at welterweight which means a jump from the 155 pound limit to 170.
The 32 year old has fought at lightweight from 2004 to 2016. Last March, he had been due to defend his lightweight belt against Conor McGregor but a training injury forced him to pull out of the bout.
Instead he would fight Eddie Alvarez in July 2016, only to lose his title to the American. Alvarez would subsequently be defeated by McGregor in November 2016 as the Irishman became the first concurrent two weight UFC Champion.
Dos Anjos would fight one more time after the defeat to Alvarez but lost to Tony Ferguson on November 5th.
But it was the weight cut for the previous lightweight bout against Alvarez that convinced him to move up a weight class in 2017 as he explained in a Q&A with ESPN.
"I think between 2014 and 2015, I made weight five times in 11 months. During that time, I felt my body change. It was able to hold on to more weight. And anybody who makes weight knows that it gets harder and harder to make weight once you've done it that many times. I just noticed my body needed more time between fights and wasn't making the weight as easy," he told ESPN.
The Brazilian went on to explain what happened behind the scenes ahead of the Alvarez fight, as he tried to cut three pounds prior to the weigh in.
"I jumped in the [Epsom salt] bath for 15 minutes, and when I stood up, I felt dizzy. I sat down again on the edge of the bath and felt OK, started to stand up again, and I just fell backward. My head was two inches from the faucet. I could have died that day," he said, adding that he passed out again shortly after and that the issues affected his performance in the fight.
"At one point, they said, 'Let's call 911 and cancel the fight.' I woke up and asked them what was going on. And after all that, I still didn't know if I had made the weight. So I had to check my weight, but I couldn't stand up. I lied down with a cold towel on my head. It took me about 40 minutes to get up. I checked my weight, and it said 155. If I hadn't been on weight, there's no way I could do any more. I couldn't do it. On the walk to the weigh-ins, I was just feeling miserable."