White: Moving Up and Moving On
Citing reasons aplenty, Alex White will make the transition up a weight class beginning at Sunday's UFC Fight Night 103.
White, a Farmington product, is 11-2 (2-2 in the UFC) as a featherweight since making his pro debut on November 19, 2010. When he faces Tony Martin on the Fox Sports 1 prelims, it will be the 28-year-old's first time at lightweight since his amateur days.
The recent ban of IV usage to re-hydrate and the early-day weigh ins along with overall wellness factors led to White and his Destruction MMA coach Joe Worden to make the jump up to lightweight.
“I will have better cardio, more speed, I think I will do some good here,” White said. “I knew at '45 that I needed to be at '55 when I left and there towards the end (of camp) I would get overpowered and overwhelmed, I was just frustrated. Now, I feel great. I'm not dried up, I'm not sunk in. I still drank a gallon of water yesterday.”
White has been bitten by the injury bug a couple of times during his UFC run, the summer of 2016 being the most recent. The duo believe having the extra strength and energy could also help curb those from reoccurring. More than at any point in his career, White is putting in the out-of-camp time at the Fitness Lab with strength and conditioning supervised by Derek Taylor.
White got the fight with Martin (10-3) by stepping in for an injured Erik Koch.
In February of 2016, White won by unanimous decision over Artem Lobov at UFC Fight Night 82 - Hendricks vs. Thompson.
“I really liked how we mixed things up in that fight,” Worden said. “We got our takedowns.We didn't get crazy. There were some times that we could have finished him but we didn't rush in. He listened and stuck to the game plan.”
It was the Lobov fight where White and Worden decided to move to lightweight.
White, who won 10-straight to start his career, made his UFC debut on Fox 11 in April 2014, knocking out Estevan Payan in 88 seconds. He followed that with losses to Lucas Martins and Clay Collard.
From the coaches perspective, Worden is eager to see the offensive output difference between the featherweight version of White and Sunday's Alex White v 2.0.
“I'm excited to see the energy level, the power,” Worden said. “People say, boy he's so strong at '45. He was but he was also depleted. We pulled every ounce we could off of him.”
Few likely know of White's decision to go to lightweight because you would be hard pressed to find a fighter who is as mum as he is on social media. Once in a blue moon a workout photo or status update is sent out to Facebook. His Twitter account, a distant memory.
“I need to get off my butt and do that kind of stuff,” White said. “It's just laziness.”
Martin, out of American Top Team, is 2-3 in the organization and 10-3 overall with eight of his wins coming by submission and two via decision. He last fought in January, 2016 when he earned a vital victory with a third-round rear naked choke over Felipe Oliveiri.
Worden called Martin a, “pretty fighter.”
“He's very technical but when you're mean to him, he doesn't like it,” Worden said. “He's been beat by guys who are not as good as him because of it.”
Worden said Martin likes to work for the takedown off the fence and that most of his submissions are of the kimura/keylock variety. `
UFC Fight Night 103 – held at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix on Sunday - is headlined by a featherweight contest between the electrifying prospect Yair Rodriguez and MMA legend B.J. Penn in what will be his first fight since a short retirement.
Photo courtesy of Sara Levin Photography