Heading into his sixth UFC fight, Chico Camus is preparing to lose that amount of weight for the first time in his career. In his previous 19 professional bouts, “King” has never competed at any less than 135 pounds, but, this Saturday, Camus will make the drop to flyweight to even the playing field and, hopefully, give his career a needed boost.
“Even before the UFC, every fight I was in was a ‘David vs. Goliath’ matchup,” Camus said. “The small guy vs. the giant. I wanted to see what it was like to fight a guy who is my size. I can go in there and feel there is a 50/50 chance with height and strength. Maybe even be the bigger guy. I have a couple 125ers at Roufusport and I do very well against them. They say I’m more of the bully when we’re in the gym. So, I wanted to see if I could make the cut and then see what it is like to fight a guy my size.”
The 29-year-old who was born, raised and trains in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has obviously fared a lot better than not with his 13-5, 1 NC pro record against these bigger opponents, which is why Camus didn’t drop earlier. Inside the Octagon alone, the 5’6” competitor has given up height advantages to all of his adversaries, including some of four or more inches. In May at UFC 173, Camus’ unanimous decision loss to The Ultimate Fighter 18 winner Chris Holdsworth - who enjoyed both a five-inch reach and height advantage - was the final straw to Camus’ weight-cutting dilemma.
“I would say it was probably my last fight that changed things,” Camus reveals. “My coaches, friends, and teammates had said that maybe I should make the move for the past year or two now. I kind of brushed it off and never really gave it any thought. When the Holdsworth fight was done, I was like ‘I should move down.’ Everybody is good in the UFC. Everyone is technical and knows what they’re doing. Holdsworth was just too much work to get in there and hit the guy. His length? I’m a short guy. I wouldn’t say Holdsworth out-powered me at all. I was matching him strength vs. strength and I think I could say that about all my other fights in the UFC. The Holdsworth fight was probably the bow on the present.”
As many have quipped before, the first fight is with the scale and the second fight is in the Octagon. For Camus, losing this weight means cleaning up his diet and not eating drive-thru fast food the week before a fight, which he admittedly used to do. It’s a lifestyle change in and out of the gym getting Camus to 125 pounds, from his girlfriend of the past nine years preparing him healthier meals to pushing himself even harder against fellow UFC flyweights like Dustin Ortiz in training.
“The weight cut has been pretty good so far,” Camus states. “I don’t eat fast food anymore. My weight is low and the weight is dropping. I have another teammate who is fighting on the card, Dustin Ortiz, and there are times when I leave the gym with my weight lower than him and he’s telling me I need to put some food into me. I’m excited to see how I’m going to be when I touch down (in Texas). I’m excited to see how this weight cut will be because I have never gotten down any lower than 133.”
For his flyweight fracas, Camus will travel to Austin for UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Swanson to collide with #11 ranked Brad “One Punch” Pickett. Easily one of the most entertaining fighters regardless of weight class, the British Brawler is 1-1 as a flyweight since dropping down earlier this year. The American Top Team product is known for his granite chin, heavy hands and penchant for winning Fight of the Night bonuses. The veteran Pickett will provide a very tough test for Camus and a high reward if he wins, as previous victories over One Punch have skyrocketed those fighters up the rankings.
“I’ve been watching this guy probably before I even thought about doing mixed martial arts,” Camus said. “Brad is a very, very good fighter. He’s a journeyman who has fought everybody. He’s fought the former [UFC bantamweight] champ [Renan] Barao, he’s fought the [current UFC flyweight] champ Demetrious Johnson, he’s fought everybody. It’s definitely a great fight for me to see where I’m at. I’m looking forward to going in there and fighting someone who is going to push me and see where my abilities are. The flyweight division is wide open. Demetrious is killing everybody right now. There’s not too many guys putting on too many big win streaks at 125, so I’m guessing beating Pickett and maybe two or three more fights and I’ll be in title contention as well.”
Generally speaking, Pickett versus Camus is a strikers’ duel with two differing stand-up sensibilities. “He has a little bounce, but he usually plods around trying to land the really big punch and I’m more of the mover,” Camus, who will aim to use his speed and precision to break down his similarly sized opponent, said. “My game plan is to stick and move and to be gone while he tries to throw his heavy punches. I’m going to pick him apart little by little and, hopefully, he gives me something that I could put him to sleep.”
On November 22nd, Camus will tangle with Pickett with his eyes set on becoming his new division’s king. “I’m going to come out and impose my will on him and I’m going to break this guy,” Camus said, eager to go toe-to-toe with someone he can literally see eye-to-eye with for the first time.