HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s been two and a half years since Makaha native Yancy Medeiros has fought at 155 pounds in the UFC.
While he has gone 3-1 in his last four fights at welterweight, Medeiros is making a return the lightweight division to not only prove that he belongs in one of the UFC’s most competitive divisions, but also that his days of failed weight cuts and malnutrition are behind him.
“This is definitely the best I’ve ever felt,” Medeiros said last week before taking off for this weekend’s fight card in Brooklyn. “This is the most optimal I’ve ever felt in camp. I’m six pounds out from making weight, so there ain’t no weight cut Hawaii. The Hawaiian wave continues, there ain’t no weight cut … just chicken skin talking about it man, I’m just so ready. Ready to represent for Hawaii.”
This Saturday in Brooklyn on the inaugural UFC on ESPN + card, Medeiros is set to take on rising contender Gregor Gillespie, a 12-0 fighter who is widely considered to be a darkhorse to watch in 2019.
Medeiros hasn’t fought since a first round TKO-loss to Donald Cerrone in January of last year at 170 pounds. He was scheduled to fight Mike Perry at UFC 223 back in July, but a broken rib put Medeiros out of action.
As he took time off to recover from his injury, the 31-year-old also took some time to get this mind, body and spirit aligned.
“I really had to evaluate myself. Had to go back to the drawing board, look at all my weaknesses, all my strengths and just made the change,. Went back to eating plants, bro,” he said. “I just eat plants now and I’ve been feeling great ever since October. I lost 35 pounds naturally, healthy, not even trying to lose the weight. And it’s been great.”
A strict-vegan diet, or plant-based diet, hasn’t been easy for Medeiros, but understands that to have success in the fight game, sacrifices have to be made.
“I was 245 (pounds) before, that was my heaviest. That was the local boy diet,” he said. “I do miss sushi, I miss it all, but I know that I would miss this feeling more.”
It’s no secret to any fan of Medeiros that when he enters the cage, fireworks are to be expected. As a fan-favorite, Medeiros has put on some memorable fights over recent years, particularly his TKO victory over Alex Oliveira in 2016.
However, Medeiros isn’t looking to just be a poster boy for violence inside the Octagon - he has plans to play spoiler against Gillespie this Saturday and became the new contender at 155 pounds.
“I’ve been training since last year waiting for a fight but nothing came through. 2018 was a very challenging year for me … but I got that pep in the step and that stride in that glide.”
Medeiros will take on Gillespie this Saturday on the main card of the night at 5 p.m. H.T. live on ESPN+.