UFC contender Renato Moicano has announced he is moving up to the lightweight division after recently struggling to make the featherweight limit.
"Some coaches have been asking me to do this test at lightweight," Moicano told MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz on Monday. "I was apprehensive at first, but (coach) Mike Brown has asked me many times since I moved to (American Top Team). 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).' That's what I'm going to do."
Moicano has competed as a featherweight for his entire nine-year career, but he said the weight cut has become more difficult over time. He previously only had to cut eight pounds to make the 145-pound limit, but now has to cut more than 30.
The Brazilian has never missed weight for a scheduled fight in his UFC career, but he did come in heavy as a backup fighter at UFC 231 in Toronto in 2018.
Moicano made waves in 2018 with wins over Calvin Kattar and Cub Swanson. At the time, he was arguably one win away from a title shot. But he's stumbled in 2019, suffering knockout losses to Jose Aldo and Chan Sung Jung. Given his current status at 145 pounds, Moicano sees more opportunities in the heavier weight class.
"I don't rule out going back to 145 because my losses were to top-five opponents, but I'm ranked No. 8 now and I don't know who I could fight there," Moicano said. "It's a good time to test myself at 155 and see how that goes."
Moicano said he hopes to fight at the UFC Brasilia event on March 14 and suggested veteran fighter Clay Guida as an opponent.