Ricardo Almeida confirms drop to welterweight

Renzo Gracie-trained third degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Ricardo Almeida (10-3) is a Pride, Pancrase, and UFC veteran. He holds notable wins over Ryo Chonan, Nate Marquardt, Kazuo Misaki, Matt Horwich, and Ikihusa Minowa.

This past week, Pro MMA Radio host, Larry Pepe had the opportunity to speak with Ricardo on a number of topics including an update on his son who was diagnosed with autism last year. They have found a really good school for his son, he has also been receiving therapy and is doing very well.

Ricardo talks about his last few fights in the UFC after taking a six year hiatus. Ricardo was in UFC 31 in 2001, and UFC 33 and 35 in 2002. Following those fights, he fought in the Pancrase organization where he went undefeated in five straight bouts, including a first round guillotine submission of Nate Marquardt.

In Ricardo’s first fight back in the UFC at UFC 81 in February 2008 he defeated Rob Yundt with a first round guillotine. In July 2008, he faced Patrick Cote at UFC 86. Ricardo lost a split decision in a fight that could have put him on track to a shot at the title.

Ricardo let Larry know what was going on with him in his fight with Cote and why he did not seem himself. He made it clear he is not making excuses. However, he did reveal he had eaten something prior to the fight and contracted a mild case of food poisoning.

Ricardo said he learned from his fight with Cote and he felt it gave him motivation to train harder and be more prepared. He also made some changes with his diet. Ricardo was back inside the Octagon on April 1st and won a unanimous decision over Team Quest standout Matt Horwich at “UFC Fight Night 18.”

Admittedly, the Cote loss was frustrating for Ricardo because a win could have put him very close to a shot at Anderson Silva. Yet, Ricardo believes in looking forward, “My goal in the UFC is still to fight for the title. So if I have to climb back there, it’s like climbing a mountain. Once you have been so close to the top, it just gives you the confidence that you can get back up there.”

Originally, Horwich and Almeida were supposed to fight on the under card of UFC 90, however, Ricardo had to pull out of that fight due to a “sports hernia”, and a training partner of Ricardo’s, Dan Miller, stepped in to fight the Team Quest fighter.

Ricardo was able to learn a few things from Dan that helped him prepare for Horwich, “Dan told me that Horwich just keeps coming forward and he is really well conditioned. It definitely helped being so close to Dan and watching his fight with Horwich.”

After his fight with Horwich, Ricardo spoke about his intentions of moving to welterweight (170 lbs). He explained his reasons for the move, “When I came back to fight at the beginning of last year, one of the things I noticed was just how much bigger every fighter was for their weight division compared to when I was fighting back in 2004 when I retired. I noticed that guys were getting bigger, not getting bigger but, cutting more weight, and I knew it was just a matter of time before I would have to do that. I consider cutting weight a skill just like jiu-jitsu.”

Ricardo confirmed the move to welterweight is definitely happening and Joe Silva and the UFC are supportive of his decision.

He also shared a conversation he had a few weeks ago with Georges St. Pierre in which the Champ asked Ricardo how much he weighed. Ricardo told him about 192 pounds. St. Pierre replied, “Do you know Anderson Silva walks around at 230 pounds?” Ricardo replied, “Yes.” St. Pierre looks at him and says, “Are you crazy?”

Ricardo got the opportunity to roll with Georges and said the welterweight champ’s jiu-jitsu has gotten very technical.

Fans can expect to see Ricardo back inside the Octagon some time in August although he could not name the opponent as the match up is still being finalized.

Pro MMA Radio host Larry Pepe also interviewed Dream’s Joe Warren in his second “Toe-to-Toe” segment of episode number forty-five available for your listening pleasure HERE. MMA fans can listen to Pro MMA Radio with host Larry Pepe every Monday night beginning at 6:00 PM PST / 9:00 PM EST at www.prommaradio.com

By: Jack Bratcher