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Derek Campos: In Bellator 145 lbs tourney, ‘you’re either going to show up or get shown up’

Derek Campos was surprised to get the call to be part of the upcoming Bellator featherweight grand prix.

MMA: Bellator 181-Girtz vs Campos Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

At Bellator 226, Derek Campos is set to fight at 145 pounds for only the second time in his 28-fight career.

Campos meets former champion Daniel Straus in the opening round of the Bellator 16-man featherweight grand prix Saturday night in San Jose. It’s a big opportunity for Campos, who’s on a three-fight skid — one that he believes is worth cutting down to 145.

“After my last fight, I wasn’t sure if I would still get the opportunity to be a part of it,” Campos told Bloody Elbow. “But here I am.”

Until late 2018, Campos had fought his entire career at lightweight. He decided to drop down to featherweight for a fight with Sam Sicilia, and after losing a split decision, he returned to lightweight earlier this year against Pedro Carvalho. He lost via first-round TKO.

Campos said if he wasn’t offered a spot in the featherweight tournament, he would be “absolutely comfortable” staying at 155 pounds. But depending on the magnitude of an offered fight, “The Stallion” is willing to compete anywhere from 145 to 170 pounds, he said.

“I don’t like to cut a whole lot of weight,” Campos said. “I walk around naturally at like 170. I’m not afraid to fight bigger guys. I don’t like to cut so much weight. 145, 155, 170, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, all I want to do is fight.”

Campos’ fight with Straus is one of eight opening-round matchups in the grand prix. The tournament also features current two-division champion Patricio Freire, ex-champs Pat Curran and Darrion Caldwell, prospects Adam Borics and Tywan Claxton, among others.

Campos said he loves the tournament format, though it’ll present its own fair share of challenges.

“I’m a fan of it,” Campos said. “It’s exciting. They’re putting me up against 15 of the other baddest featherweights in the world, and it’ll bring the best out of everyone. It’s do-or-die. You’re either going to show up or get shown up.”