Pietro Menga isn’t bitter about missing out on a UFC debut due to weight-cutting issues.
Tim Elliott refused to fight the Manchester native after he got down to 131 pounds for his short notice flyweight meeting with the former title contender at UFC on FOX 26.
Although his first chance with the promotion didn’t go swimmingly with the Brit being released shortly after the event, he still sees the UFC flyweight title as his main motivation.
“Everything happens for a reason and everything that’s happened has made me a much better fighter,” Menga told MMA Fighting.
“There were a lot of positives that I took from it. I think every fighter has moments in their career where they can either fold or just get on with it. That’s where I was, I was thinking about knocking it on the head (retiring) after what happened in Winnipeg.
“If I had done that, I would have been allowing that moment to define me, not making weight for whatever reason. I’m still chasing that UFC title, that incident has only given me more motivation.”
Menga wanted to show everyone that he could hit the flyweight limit and be victorious as soon as possible after what transpired in Winnipeg. When Celtic Gladiator 19 was booked in Manchester for Feb. 24, the idea of being able to compete and not committing to a multi-fight deal made perfect sense to the unbeaten flyweight.
“Pitbull” revealed that two Russian promotions have offered him deals since his jilted UFC debut, but he still believes that he has some unique selling points that will appeal to the world’s flagship promotion in the future.
“I don’t think there are any other fighters that are in the situation I’m in. I can run through that division,” said Menga.
“The problem with the flyweight division in the UFC is that nobody wants to watch it, but because I get finishes everybody took an interest; there were a lot of people that wanted to see me. I know I can bring eyes to the division.
“I’ve got to make weight, beat this guy and be a professional. It’s given me a point to prove and I always fight really well when I have a point to prove. Everybody knows what happened last time, so now it’s time to show everyone the real me.”
Six days out from the event, Menga already weighed 131 pounds – the same weight he got down to before he was told to stop cutting weight for Elliott.
“It’s going to be fun stepping on the scales this time, it won’t be a big cut at all,” he said. “Yesterday, I was the same weight I was when I was on the verge of collapsing. This time everything is ready to go, I’ve ticked all the boxes.”
Considering his opponent, Raymison Bruno (10-2) — who has never tasted defeat as a flyweight — Menga thinks it’s one of the best names he could’ve asked for outside the UFC.
“This is an undefeated flyweight against another undefeated flyweight. Outside of the UFC, you’re not going to get a better matchup than this in the division. I think I can make a big statement in this fight that will put every flyweight in the world on notice.
“The thing is, if I hit this guy on the chin I know he’s f*cked and there aren’t many flyweights that can say that.”
He hopes that a win on Saturday night will be enough to peak the interest of the UFC again, but if not, he says he is more than willing to prove himself again.
“I’ll fight again if I have to. I’ll fight in May if that’s what it takes. I’m hearing rumors that the UFC could be coming back to Manchester later on in the year for Michael Bisping’s retirement fight, and I’ve got a massive following over here, so that could work,” he said. “I know I’ll deliver. I’ll bring a crowd and unlike other flyweights, I go in there and I knock people out.”