LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 09: Brad Katona reacts after finishing three rounds against Kyler Phillips during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated on February 9, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Brad Katona Hopes to Return to Bantamweight After TUF 27 Finale

Brad Katona is excited for his chance to become the latest "Ultimate Fighter" champion and then afterwards he hopes he can return to a more natural 135 pounds to compete in the UFC

Brad Katona knew going into “The Ultimate Fighter” season 27 that he was going to be one of the smaller fighters in the competition.

After spending the majority of his career competing at 135 pounds, Katona gambled on cutting less weight going into the reality show to give him a leg up on the competition.

It paid off as Katona ended up winning both of his fights in impressive fashion as he punched his ticket to the live finale on Friday night where he faces former housemate Jay Cucciniello in a bout that will determine the featherweight winner from the show.

Katona admits it was the right move and he’s definitely enjoying life as a featherwieght for now.

“This is actually a weight class up from where I normally fight at. I normally fight at bantamweight throughout my career so I’m pretty happy right now and I’m full of energy. This fighting a weight class up is certainly fun,” Katona said ahead of his fight on Friday.

While he will likely be the smaller fighter going up against Cucciniello, Katona isn’t concerned about anything but going out and putting on the best performance possible.

During his time on the reality show, Katona was probably one of the more underrated fighters in the house but he was more than happy to shock the world with back-to-back wins over Kyler Phillips and Bryce Mitchell.

If he’s the underdog yet again going into his fight against Cucciniello, Katona is more than happy to play that role and he’ll surprise people yet again on Friday night.

“You know what, if someone wants to take me lightly, that just makes my job easier,” Katona said. “No matter who I’m facing, I take it like they’re the world champion. If I’m the favorite, I try to leverage that to my advantage and if I’m the underdog, I’ll try to leverage that to my advantage. If someone is overlooking me because I don’t look the part, I showed in my last fight against Bryce [Mitchell] that there’s toughness there.

“You think it’s going to crack but there’s not a crack in me. I’m in it to win it and there’s no breaking me mentally.”

Katona will also have a pair of veteran coaches in his corner on Friday to get him through his first official UFC fight.

SBG Ireland head coach John Kavanagh and former “Ultimate Fighter” finalist Artem Lobov will both be there with Katona when he steps into the Octagon to battle Cucciniello for the featherweight crown.

Afterwards, Katona says his days at featherweight will probably be finished.

A week out from the fight, Katona weighed just under 150 pounds, which means his weight cut was almost non-existent. That’s why he plans on a move back down to bantamweight while hopefully doing so as “The Ultimate Fighter” champion.

“I certainly would like to go down to bantamweight,” Katona said. “That’s a conversation we would have with the UFC and if they’re open to it, I think that’s where I’m the best. The best chance to perform to the best of my abilities. Even at bantamweight, I’m not cutting a tremendous amount of weight so I’m still not the biggest bantamweight. I eat 100-percent for performance and I enjoy it but when you’re sitting almost on weight a couple of weeks out, you know you’re meant for the weight class below.

“That’s where I’d like to make my home.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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