Renato Moicano moving up to lightweight, calls for UFC Brasilia fight with Clay Guida

Renato Moicano will compete in a 155-pound bout for the first time in his MMA career in 2020. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Renato Moicano is changing things up before his next fight inside the Octagon.

One of the best MMA fighters to come out of Brasilia, Moicano wants a chance to compete for the first time on a UFC card in his home town on March 14, 2020, in what would be his debut in the lightweight division.

Speaking with MMA Fighting on Monday, Moicano explained why he decided to compete at 155 pounds after nearly a decade as a featherweight.

“Some coaches have been asking me to do this test at lightweight,” Moicano said. “I was apprehensive at first, but Mike Brown has asked me many times since I moved to ATT. We’re used to cutting a lot of weight in Brazil, and that was never a problem for me, but I’ve suffered a lot in my last three fights.

“After my last loss, Mike Brown texted me saying ‘I think it’s time for you to move up. You have to at least make a test. If you don’t like it, fine, you can go back (to 145),’ and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Moicano, who lost back-to-back fights to Jose Aldo and Chan Sung Jung in 2019 after wins over Cub Swanson and Calvin Kattar the year before, asks the company to give him “a good opponent” for his first test at lightweight, and suggests 54-fight veteran Clay Guida.

“I’m a huge fan of his and since he has fought many times in Brazil before, I don’t think that would be a problem for him,” Moicano said. “He’s a veteran and a popular fighter, so that would be good to maybe make it the main or co-main event in Brasilia.”

Guida fought twice in Brazil, losing to Thiago Tavares in 2015 before scoring a decision victory over B.J. Penn in May.

“He always puts on great fights,” Moicano said. “I’ve always looked out for big-name opponents since my debut and I plan on doing the same at 155: aim for big fights, good opponents.”

The 30-year-old Brazilian has competed as a featherweight since his MMA debut in 2010, but only had to cut eight pounds back then to reach the 145-pound limit. Moicano currently walks around 177 pounds, though, meaning a harder cut to his original division.

Inspired by the success of fighters like Amanda Nunes, Thiago Santos, Dustin Poirier, Gilbert Burns, Rafael dos Anjos and Charles Oliveira, the top-ranked featherweight expects great performances in a higher weight class.

What also opened his eyes for the dangers of abrupt weight cut was the recent brainstem haemorrhage that might end the career of his his teammate Rudson Caliocane.

“I still can make 145 because I know other athletes that are heavier than me, like Zabit (Magomedsharipov) and (Max) Holloway, but MMA in general is starting to change,” Moicano said. “Fighters aren’t getting so much bigger like they used to in the past.

“I don’t rule out going back to 145 because my losses were to top 5 opponents, but I’m ranked No. 8 now and I don’t know who I could fight there. It’s a good time to test myself at 155 and see how that goes. It’s all very flexible today, you see fighters jumping weight classes all the time, and I’m open to doing that for interesting fights that are worth it.”

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