LAS VEGAS – Claudio Ribeiro doesn’t think he’s too small for middleweight.
Although he weighed in at 181.5 pounds, Ribeiro (10-2) needed just 25 seconds to knock out Ivan Valenzuela on Tuesday at Dana White’s Contender Series 50 to earn a UFC contract. He didn’t appear to rule out a move down to welterweight in the future, but Ribeiro thinks his power translates very well at middleweight.
“Basically we’re gonna stay at ’85 and gonna continue to run the course and then maybe later think about what’s below,” Ribeiro told reporters, including MMA Junkie.
He continued, “They like to say I’m little for the division, but you know what? Mike Tyson was little for boxing, and he used to knock everyone out. So, I’m gonna be the Mike Tyson of my division.”
Jose Johnson: Dana White moved by my story but also looked at hard work to deserve UFC contract
Nazim Sadykhov ready to 'cause a sh*tstorm' after DWCS 50 win – preferably starting at UFC 281
Hailey Cowan isn't sure what Dana White meant by 'it factor,' but she's thankful for UFC contract
When UFC president Dana White was asked his thoughts on Ribeiro coming in so light, he figured the Brazilian could probably make 170 pounds easily. Ribeiro insists on middleweight but can see himself competing in both weight classes.
“As I said, we’re gonna keep at ’85,” Ribeiro said. “One step at a time, no rush. But if he keeps saying those things, of course we can go down there and get that belt over there, as well.”