Luis Pena’s future in the UFC featherweight division has been cut short, as the man affectionately known as “Violent Bob Ross” says the promotion has forced him to compete in the heavier lightweight division after he missed weight in his featherweight debut.
At 6 feet, 3 inches tall, it seems the cut to the 145-pound division may be a step too far for the 25-year-old and it proved the case when he weighed in at 148.5 pounds -- 2.5 pounds over the featherweight non-title fight limit -- back in March against Steven Peterson. As result of missing weight, Pena was fined 30 percent of his fight purse and his fight against Peterson was contested at a catchweight.
Pena’s next fight inside the Octagon is against veteran lightweight Matt Wiman and is set to take place on June 22 at UFC Fight Night 154. According to Pena, the decision to fight at lightweight was something enforced by the UFC.
“That was definitely the UFC’s (decision),” Pena told theScore. “As much as I did want to stay at featherweight, I can’t lie though, I’ve gotten a lot bigger since the last fight. This fight being at lightweight does kind of work out for me. I’m not necessarily mad about moving up.”
Pena’s opponent, Wiman, returns to the UFC after more than four and a half years with his last fight coming against Isaac Vallie-Flagg in November 2014. Pena said he wasn’t aware who the 15-fight UFC veteran was, but says he’ll be looking to knock him out.
“I definitely looked him up, he seems to be a good fighter,” Pena said. “He’s real grindy, he likes to come forward and throw hands. He can do everything, you know what I’m saying? I’m prepared for a fight everywhere. … I’m definitely looking to utilize my height and reach in this fight.
“We’re probably going to meet in the middle and bang it out for three rounds,” he said. “I’m hoping to get the knockout and take home some bonus money, as always. The worst thing to happen to me is getting the bonus money in my debut because now I’m chasing it.”