Fabio Maldonado is still breathing. That sentence seemed to be in a state of doubt after watching Maldonado take the vicious beating at the hands of Glover Teixeira. Queue the “this guy is not human!” line from Joe Rogan when you try to describe Maldonado’s performance against Teixeira.

Even though Maldonado lost the bout, the Brazilian earned quite a few fans from his gutsy performance. It will become that signature moment of the man’s toughness as Maldonado was only standing because the cage happened to be behind him.

Still, a loss is a loss and it happened to be Maldonado’s third straight loss. That typically means a fighter can expect a pink slip in the mail from the UFC. But Maldonado isn’t looking for a new promotion, but at a new division instead.

The Brazilian will be competing at middleweight for his next fight and will do so against UFC-level competition. It’s always a risky move to change a weight class, but Maldonado does have a few things working in his favor.

For one, Maldonado is a former professional boxer who won 21 of his 22 boxing matches via KO. Although his technique does tend to get sloppy as the fight goes on, there’s no denying Maldonado’s immense power. You have to believe that his punching power will only be amplified as he faces smaller competition.

Another advantage for Maldonado is time. He’s likely to be out of action for quite some time after the ruthless beating put on him by Teixeira. That should equate to an easier cut as Maldonado can fidget with his diet plans without having to cram a fight camp together.

A huge feather in his cap will be that UFC President Dana White seems to have taken a liking to the Brazilian after he stepped in on short notice to face a guy nobody wanted to face at UFC 153. It’s evident White appreciates Maldonado’s style of exciting fight and stepping up on short notice is a near guarantee that you’ll get a call back from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva in the future.

What will be a huge detriment to Maldonado is the type of fighters in the middleweight division. A good portion of the division have competent grappling backgrounds to go with their striking talents. The ground game is something Maldonado has struggled with thus far in his career, evident by his two submission losses and being out-wrestled by Teixeira.

The key for Maldonado moving to 185 pounds will be the weight cut. Dropping weight divisions is something that either works out like it should or turns into a travesty. If he can bring his punching power with him to his new division, other fighters are going to be forced to cover up and get the Brazilian on the mat to avoid staring up at the lights.

Photo: Fabio Maldonado (L) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.