Back at 155 Pounds, Erik Koch Looking to Make 2014 His Year in the UFC

Erik Koch has returned home to lightweight division, after doing some unhealthy weight cutting in his recent run at featherweight.

Fighting back at 155 pounds, Koch said he feels more powerful and more himself. Speed and power are no longer issues for him because he’s not cutting it out along with the additional 10 pounds to make the 145-pound weight limit.

“The last two times I fought at featherweight, I just didn’t feel myself,” Koch told The Great MMA Debate Podcast. “That’s because I had no pop. I’d go out there and want to do stuff, but I just wasn’t able to do it. I was cutting way too much muscle. When you cut as muscle as I was, you can’t recover that in a 24-hour period. Now, it’s a perfect ratio and I feel great out there. I’m not the biggest lightweight, but I feel like speed and power are definitely not issues.”

Koch’s last two losses came in part as a result of his unhealthy weight cut, and he realized this by looking at photos of himself. He didn’t like the way he looked and decided that he couldn’t put himself through that anymore.

Being as skinny as he was at featherweight was a red flag, Koch said. But now that he’s back at lightweight, he said he feels worlds better.

“If anybody’s seen me in person when cutting down to featherweight, it’s gross,” he said. “After my last fight at 145, I was looking through pictures the day of and a couple days before weigh-ins and it was definitely a red flag, like, this definitely isn’t healthy. It didn’t look good and didn’t look right, and it showed in my performances. That 10 pounds of muscle is a lot of muscle.

“I feel rejuvenated and awesome at lightweight.”

In his most recent fight, Koch needed only 84 seconds to show he belongs back at 155 pounds, beating Rafaello Oliveira in the first round by technical knockout. He’ll look to continue the 155-pound knockout trend with his next fight, a UFC Fight Night 40 duel with Daron Cruickshank.

Cruickshank is a taekwondo specialist and has showcased some unique techniques and flashy kicks in the Octagon. All of this, Koch said, is stuff he sees on a daily basis while training with UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

“I’ve seen that stuff a million times,” he said. “I train with the lightweight champ and he’s the best of the best at it. It’s always something to look out for. You never want to underestimate anybody, but I just think it’s a fun match-up.”

Bottom line is Koch sees himself as the better fighter, and he’ll look to add Cruickshank to the list of lightweights he plans on finishing in 2014.

“I just think I’m better [than Cruickshank] everywhere,” he said. “I think I’m more technical. Even standing, I think tying everything together, I’m more well rounded. I’ve seen spinning kicks before, I’ve seen spinning techniques, it’s not my first time. It’s definitely something I want to capitalize on and it’ll definitely be a fun fight to watch.

“It’s definitely going to be my year. I’m going to put on exciting finishes.”

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