UFC FN 42: Jason High Hopes to “Springboard” Into Lightweight Title Run With Win Over Rafael dos Anjos
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although Jason High has lost just one fight since 2010, and is coming off consecutive wins over welterweights James Head and Anthony Lapsley, “The Kansas City Bandit” is dropping to 155. While it’s a decision that may have caught some fans and pundits off guard, High sees several positives playing out through the move.
“I just feel like my frame suits lightweight better,” High relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing his upcoming, June 7th bout with Rafael dos Anjos. “I’m a shorter guy, I’m 5’8, shorter welterweight, and I’ve been fighting these tall, rangy guys for most of my career. So I just wanted to go down and be on the bigger end of the scale for once, you know? See how the results play out.”
“I can see where it might be a surprise,” High relayed later in the interview. “I’ve never really made decisions on my career based on what people thought. It’s my career; I can do what I want with it. The only time I think about something like that is when people ask. Obviously I’ve had plenty of success at 170, but it’s the difference between, I wouldn’t call it middling, but being a mid-tier guy, and I’m trying to be a champ. I think I can do that at 55.”
Since High exited from the UFC in 2011, the American Top Team fighter has gone 9-1, and the only man to defeat him during that stretch is the UFC’s #15 ranked welterweight, Erick Silva.
“Well, I was kind of pushing back against this for a long time,” the 32 year-old noted, when asked how long he’s been considering a drop to lightweight. “People have been asking me, and whatever, if I could make 55. But, you know, I kind of felt like I’d end up at 55, it was just whether I wanted to make the dietary changes to get down there.”
It looks as though the UFC believes High could make an impact at lightweight, as the promotion has booked him to fight its #6 ranked 155’er right off the bat. It wasn’t long ago that dos Anjos was within grasp of a title shot, thanks to a five fight winning streak, but he was decisioned by Khabib Nurmagomedov in April.
“Yeah man, I’m definitely excited,” said High. “I’m glad that they’ve given me the opportunity to fight a top ten guy. It’s been one of my goals to be in the top ten, and just springboard to a title run from there. I’m excited to get in there and prove myself against a top lightweight. I was really happy when they called me with a top ten guy. Super happy.”
And how does the experienced wrestler see himself defeating dos Anjos? And possibly moving into the coveted, top ten ranks?
“He’s a tough guy man; good jiu-jitsu, pretty good stand-up and always in good shape,” said High. “He comes to fight, so, obviously I think if I wanted to I could go out there and out wrestle him. He’s been like, I wouldn’t say out jiu-jitsu-ed, but he’s been out grappled before. That last fight he was obviously dominated.”
High will face dos Anjos at UFC FN 42, which will be hosted by the Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.