James Te Huna‘s 2013 got off to a rocky start. The hard-hitting slugger was paired against Canadian splitster Ryan Jimmo at UFC on FUEL 7 in February, and was favored as high as 3-to-1 over the former CP guest blogger. Early in the first round, however, Te Huna ate a vicious head kick that would have ended the night of a lesser man. Although the New Zealander would right the course and end up defeating Jimmo via unanimous decision, he would drop his next two contests to current title challenger Glover Teixeira and former champion Mauricio Rua via first round submission and KO, respectively.
While there’s no shame in losing to either of those gentlemen, Te Huna has quickly gone from one of the division’s top fighters to one who could be fighting for his job. The four fight win streak he was able to build in the wake of his UFC 127 loss to Alexander Gustafsson erased, it appears that Te Huna is opting for a favorite change-up amongst struggling MMA fighters: Dropping a weight class to save his career.
Te Huna recently sat down with The MMA Corner to discuss how his decision to drop to 185 for the first time in his career came about. The answer may surprise you (if you were in a coma all of last year):
It was a pretty embarrassing loss, and last year was a pretty bad year for me. I had a lot of issues going into my fight in London, and we tried to work some things out in my time off between fights. And then there was that embarrassing knockout to finish the year off. This year, I am excited to take on a new challenge and take on a drop to middleweight.
It’s about making a fresh new start and taking on a new challenge, and I know I’ll be able to make Middleweight. Middleweight is probably a bit more of a natural weight for me. Right now, I am always eating so that I can stay up at Light Heavyweight. I’m one of the lightest guys at Light Heavyweight, so I know that if I eat normally I’ll be able to hit Middleweight. I’ve been fighting at Light Heavyweight for my whole career, but I think that this challenge is the right move.
You can read the rest of Te Huna’s interview over at The MMA Corner. Here’s hoping that Te Huna can make the cut to 185 without winding up in the James Irvin “Skeletor Look-alike” Hall of Fame. But should Te Huna successfully (and safely) make weight, who would you like to see him paired up against for his middleweight debut, Nation?