Marcelo Rojo is leaving behind the bantamweight division.
The Argentine UFC fighter is making a move up to 145 pounds, as he makes a return to the cage this Saturday at UFC on ESPN 42 in Orlando. Rojo (16-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC) takes on UFC debutant Francis Marshall.
Rojo said that the decision to switch weight classes was made by his coach James Krause. Rojo didn’t have a history of weight misses at bantamweight, but he said it was always tough to get down to 135 pounds. Krause believes Rojo is better suited at featherweight.
“I’ve always been big for 135,” Rojo told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “Actually, in the studies I made at the UFC PI after my last fight, I have 140 pounds of lean mass. Meaning, and that was done in February, that for me to make 135 I had to lose the fat and five extra pounds of muscle. And yeah, that wasn’t a good time.”
Rojo has fought plenty of times at 145 pounds – he even competed at lightweight during his run in season three of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America back in 2016.
Rojo is currently 0-2 since joining the UFC in early 2021. It hasn’t been an ideal start to his UFC career, but the 34-year-old is not letting that spoil the journey.
“It’s every fighter’s dream (to fight in the UFC), and I’m enjoying it with my friends and all the people that surround me,” Rojo explained. “It’s unique, it’s unique. There’s a reason why the best fighters are in the UFC. It’s the elite.
“I try to stay informed all the time and I try to study the game to be a better fighter. It’s impressive. I have the luck to be able to train at the UFC Performance Institute with the coaches, who are super professional, the nutritionists, the physical therapists, everything that they bring us is top of the line.”
Any defeat could put pressure on a fighter, as the UFC is a very competitive organization and the turnover is high. Rojo is keeping a strong mind and says there’s no pressure entering UFC on ESPN 42.
“No, that pressure that they make up is put on by the people themselves, you know,” Rojo said. “I’m living my dream. I’m doing what I love, and I’m enjoying it, and I’m getting paid to do it. I’m so fortunate. The truth is that I have nothing to lose. I’m going to go out there and give it my all like I do for every fight.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 42.