Light heavyweight may have just gained another dangerous member.
Thiago “Marreta” Santos has contested his entire UFC career at 185 pounds … right up until accepting a late replacement fight in Sao Paulo at 205 pounds. Initially against Jimi Manuwa, he ended up facing Eryk Anders … and defeating him in impressive fashion (watch it here). Now it sounds like he’s considering an extended stay at light heavyweight, and perhaps even making it his new home.
“I can make 185. That’s a fact,” Santos said at the post fight press conference (translated by MMA Fighting). “I’m coming off three fights at 185. The problem is the recovery. I don’t get back to 100 percent. So what’s important is my health. Regardless of fighting someone like Jon Jones’ size or Alexander Gustafsson. But if I’m healthy, it’s going to be a war for them.”
But first things first: Santos wants what he originally agreed to: a bout with British slugger Jimi Manuwa.
“I hope that he recovers well,” Santos said. “I hope to meet with him in December so we can fulfil the contract that we signed. I want to fight at 205 against a guy that’s bigger than me like Manuwa so I can feel the pressure from a heavier guy. To see if I get punched by that guy and I change my mind and go back to 185 or step up. So, we’ll see.”
Santos is just the latest fighter to make his mark at 205 after struggling to get noticed at 185. Anthony Smith exploded into the light heavyweight rankings after a single win over “Shogun” Rua and is now set to face #2 ranked Volkan Oezdemir at the end of October. If Santos gets his hands on Manuwa, he may find himself at the top of the light heavyweight division, which seems better than sitting outside of the top ten at middleweight.