James Te Huna drops to middleweight after ’embarrassing’ Shogun loss

The 32-year-old New Zealander has lost two consecutive bouts in the light-heavyweight division.

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In an interview with Neil Rooke of The MMA Corner, the 32-year-old New Zealander outlined his plans to make the move down to middleweight following a 5-3 run in eight Octagon appearances in the 205-pound weight class.

After beginning 2013 with a unanimous decision win over Ryan Jimmo, Te Huna stepped up on short notice to face Glover Teixeira in May, falling to the current title challenger via first-round submission. Seven months later and fighting on home soil in Brisbane, Australia, the chiseled light heavyweight was knocked out by former champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, marking the first time in his career he had lost consecutive contests.

Now Te Huna is ready to start fresh with a move to the most intriguing weight class in the UFC.

"It was a pretty embarrassing loss, and last year was a pretty bad year for me," Te Huna admitted to The MMA Corner. "I had a lot of issues going into my fight in London, and we tried to work some things out in my time off between fights. … This year, I am excited to take on a new challenge and take on a drop to middleweight."

It was a pretty embarrassing loss, and last year was a pretty bad year for me.

The landscape of the middleweight division has changed a great deal over the last year, with Chris Weidman’s ascent and the arrival of fighters like Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, and Gegard Mousasi to complement established contenders like Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping.

Once lacking depth, the 185-pound ranks are now brimming with talent, and the battle for a place in the upper tier of the division is more competitive than ever before. The offshoot of this, however, is that the already thin light heavyweight division sees yet another name pulled from their ranks.

Historically one of the marquee divisions in the UFC, the 205-pound ranks are now lacking depth, as champion Jon Jones has already dispatched many of the division’s finest. Despite Daniel Cormier’s recent arrival — slated for UFC 170 against Rashad Evans — very few names have been able to break into the light-heavyweight elite.

There is no word yet on when Te Huna will make his middleweight debut.