Rousimar Palhares Plans to Shed Tons of Muscle, Drop to Welterweight

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterAugust 7, 2013

May 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  Rousimar Palhares before a middleweight bout with Alan Belcher during UFC on Fox 3 at the Izod Center. Alan Belcher won by technical knock out in the first round. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It's a sad day, of sorts: Rousimar Palhares is planning a drop to welterweight, and that means we'll marvel no more at his incredible ability to pack 250 pounds of muscle on a frame that's much more suited for featherweight than middleweight. 

Palhares, the 5'8" grappling dynamo who constantly draws references to inanimate objects like fire hydrants, revealed via last night's episode of UFC Tonight that he's planning to drop to welterweight when he returns from his nine-month suspension for elevated testosterone levels. Palhares, affectionately known as "Paul Harris" by denizens of the internet MMA fan community, failed the drug test following his December loss to Hector Lombard.

After the loss (and ensuing suspension), Palhares noted to Gracie Magazine that he was already considering a drop in weight class

My desire to get down to the welterweight division is great, but I don't want to make a hasty decision ... I will only really do it if my body's response is positive. I'm doing a fully integrated work of nutrition, fitness, supplementation and orthomolecular medicine. I'm with a very good team taking care of me.

The change in weight class is more of a necessity than anything else for Palhares. His "desire to get down to the welterweight division" is only great because the UFC tends to have very little patience for fighters who fight above their weight class thanks to the muscle-building properties of performance-enhancing drugs. Of course he's in a hurry to get to 170; he'd be cut in an instant if he returned and lost another middleweight fight. 

The loss to Lombard was the second in a row for Palhares, so he'll be urgently seeking to right the ship when he's eligible to return with his new welterweight body later this year.