Trevin Giles’ move down to welterweight from middleweight stemmed from an interaction he had with current 170-pound champion Karamu Usman.
“I met him one time and he was my size at 185; I was 185 at the time,” Giles told UFC.com. “He was the same size as me, he had more muscle mass and stuff and I looked at him and I was like, ‘Man, he’s making 170; he’d be a problem at 185, but he is down there at 170 killing it.’ I looked at him and I was like I have to make the move.”
Giles admitted that he was unsure heading into the weight cut for his bout at UFC 270 but said that the weight is falling off easier than expected. Being able to drop down to middleweight gave Giles a little bit of a confidence boost since he feels that he’ll be able to move easier at 170 pounds. There was always a sense of curiosity as to what he could accomplish at welterweight.
“I knew if I could lose fat and have more muscle and really maximize my athleticism and not give up a weight advantage - because I was small at 185 - I just wondered how that would be,” Giles said. “I did pretty well at 185, now not having such a weight disadvantage, I’m just curious how everything would play out.”
His first test at welterweight is a fighter that will be making his UFC debut after competing on Dana White’s Contender Series, Michael Morales. The 22-year-old is currently undefeated with 12 victories.
Giles has been competing in the UFC for four years, therefore he knows better than anyone not to underestimate any opponent, especially the ones that are stepping into the Octagon for the first time.
“He has put in his work, he belongs here, and he is hungry,” Giles said. “These are some of the most dangerous fights. When I first came in, my first two fights were knockouts, I came in and I was whooping these guys and you’re hungry coming in, you have something to prove. This will be his first UFC fight, he is on a big event, he’ll be in front of fans. He is going to come out and be his best.”
Even though he isn’t going to underestimate Morales, Giles is prepared to show how important experience matters, especially when it comes to being under the bright lights of a pay-per-view. Speaking of experience on the big stage, the last time fans saw Giles was at UFC 264 against Dricus du Plessis.
Giles believes “experience will take over.”
“A lot of people don’t really know what that means, and I’ve been able to see first-hand what that means,” Giles said. “It’s something that you just kind of feel when you are there. When things get hard, the other guy’s not freaking out, he’s not reacting and you might be having thoughts in your head and he has the poker face on, that kind of thing.”
In addition to the experience he is bringing to the matchup, Giles feels that he is better fighter overall, on the ground and standing up. Even though Morales is coming into the fight with a wrestling background, Giles isn’t afraid to go for the submission and has recorded five victories by tap out. He is prepared to earn a victory on the ground or on the feet.
Giles wants to pick Morales apart by making him uncomfortable.
“With some people, it’s a fast punch - you hit them quickly and you can see it in their face that they didn’t see it coming and they’re scared of what the next one is going to look like,” Giles said. “Whether it’s that, whether it’s getting sprawled on, whether it’s just me putting a bunch of pressure on him and making him feel it, it’s just kind of what he shows me that makes him uncomfortable is what I’ll attack, and I think that’ll be the beginning of the end.”
Looking to the rest of 2022, Giles wants to stay busy and have at least four fights this year. He wants to get to a place where he is training full-time and not have to worry about things outside of the UFC.
Of course, right now he is only focused on the opponent at hand. Even though this fight is against a newcomer, the Texas native understands that it is a big fight and brings another moment to prove something.
“It just depends on what you go out there and do. If I go out there and get a great knockout, people might want to see me fighting one of the top guys, or ranked guys, you never know. I’m treating it like a big opportunity because it is.”
Don't miss a single strike of the first pay-per-view of 2022 at UFC 270: Ngannou vs Gane, live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on ESPN+. Prelims begin at 7pm ET/4pm PT. Main card begins at 10pm ET/7pm PT.
UFC 270: Ngannou vs Gane took place on Saturday, January 22, 2022, live from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive all of the action on UFC Fight Pass.