Joaquin Buckley explains welterweight move at UFC Fight Night 224: ‘I got tired of getting knocked out’

LAS VEGAS – Joaquin Buckley is looking for a fresh start at welterweight when he steps in the octagon at UFC Fight Night 224.

After spending his entire octagon tenure at middleweight, Buckley (15-6 MMA, 5-4 UFC) became fed up with the mixed results and wants to prove he can be better. He is confident 170 pounds is where he’ll shine and is ready for his divisional debut Saturday when he meets Andre Fialho (16-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) in a main card bout at the UFC Apex.

“I should’ve been here the whole time, but it is what it is,” Buckley told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 224 media day. “I came here for that check. That’s the only reason why I was at middleweight. They gave me an opportunity at 185 when they seen me fighting at 185 for LFA. So that’s why I stayed there. And me getting those knockouts at 185, I felt good there because a lot of people don’t realize I didn’t cut any weight to get to middleweight. I walked around at 185, 183. I was just able to walk into that cage and be me. Now I have to actually be disciplined at what I eat, my nutrition.”

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Buckley, 29, thinks he’s got the necessary UFC experience under his belt to make a big push into contender status. He never felt he could live up to his “full potential” at middleweight, but now things are different.

“I got tired of getting knocked out,” Buckley said. “I ain’t going to lie. Being at 185, you’ve got a lot of heavy hitters out there. But one thing about me mentally is I’m not scared to fight anybody. But sometimes that’s the problem. It’s not about being scared. It’s about being smart. Right now I feel like me being at 170, even though I took losses at 185, they prepared me for this moment at welterweight.”

With less than 48 hours until UFC Fight Night 224 weigh-ins, Buckley said he’s physically right where he should be. It’s not a drastic weight cut, he said, and he expects to get through it with relative ease then rehydrate to achieve maximum performance against Fialho.

“We right where we belong,” Buckley said. “I woke up at 178 today. So the weight feels good. My energy is high. I don’t know if y’all see it, but I feel good and look good. I don’t look all sucked out and depleted like a lot of these fighters. So we 100 (percent).”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 224.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie