Hardcore MMA fans are no strangers to the times when weight classes did not exist. In the early days of the sport fighters would through themselves into the fire as they would be matched against opponents sometimes twice their own weight, and would not even learn who their opponents were until the day of the bout. Hardcore fans will recall the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in particular when BJJ ace Royce Gracie would take on opponents sometimes around twice his weight well in the range of Heavyweight and even Super-Heavyweight taking on names like Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock and Kimo Leopoldo. These days however the sport has evolved with the existence of multiple weight classes that made the sport safer and allowed for little chances of weight disparities to make for more fair competition. While there are multiple weight classes there are fighters who would still be willing to take on much larger competition, even when there is the chance at taking on opponents who are more evenly matched or even take on others who they could have the size advantage over.
|Weight Classes||Range of Weight (max-min)|
|Flyweight||125-no set minimum|
*Each weight class allows an extra pound of leniency for non-title bouts on the day of official weigh-ins. There are times when a bout is agreed ahead of time to be contested at a catchweight such as 195lbs maximum. For title bouts both competitors are required to weigh within the official weight limit.
Pat Barry: Current weight = Heavyweight; Suggested weight = Light Heavyweight
Known for his entertaining and diverse style of kickboxing that combines flashy strikes with knockout power, Pat Barry has been one of the most beloved competitors in the Heavyweight division over the past few years. Standing at 5’11” however, he is not exactly the stereotypical giant that the division is known to play home to. Since fighting in the UFC he has taken on opponents that usually stack up against with the closest opponent matching his height being Joey Beltran, a competitor who recently made the drop down to compete at Light Heavyweight after realizing he too was undersized. Usually weighing in at around 244lbs (give or take some) Barry is not exactly the lightest fighter among the Heavyweight roster, but looking at his size it is clear that he is more suited to compete at the next weight class down at Light Heavyweight. Over his past few fights Barry has been repeatedly questioned on whether he has ever considered the drop down in weight classes, but has turned down the thought stating that he feels comfortable where he is and prefers not to change his current eating habits. Even though he may be outsized by some of the competition still in the 205lbs division, Barry’s power is well up for the task in taking down some of the division’s biggest threats. Being one of the smaller fighters at Heavyweight it is no surprise that he sometimes takes the advantage in speed, and could carry that advantage over in the drop down in weight. Barry’s record in the UFC is 4-5 as a Heavyweight, but that can improve should he commit to competing at Light Heavyweight.
Rashad Evans: Current weight = Light Heavyweight; Suggested weight = Middleweight
The original Heavyweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter winning the tournament on the second season, Evans was clearly one of the smaller competitors for that weight bracket on the show. Moving down to Light Heavyweight immediately after winning TUF2 as a Heavyweight Evans remained undefeated all the way to winning the division title defeating an opponent who stood 4” taller than him. Standing at 5’11” Evans is a relatively small competitor in the division with some of the developing talent in the division standing around 6’4” like champion Jon Jones or Swedish star Alexander Gustafsson standing at 6’5”. Though he has continued to compete against some of the elite talent in the weight class Evans has been seen by some analysts as a fighter who could do better at Middleweight. Evans is clearly one of the best wrestlers both at Light Heavyweight and in the UFC entirely, and possesses a diverse kickboxing game that he has developed over the years since winning TUF2. Always managing his health and fitness to stay in shape, a drop down to Middleweight may not be that hard of a task.
Clay Guida: Current weight = Lightweight; Suggested weight = Featherweight
A longtime standout in the Lightweight division and the inaugural division champion in Strikeforce, Clay Guida is one of the most recognized competitors in the weight class. While he is not really undersized for the division, Guida has struggled to capture the title going 9-7 in the UFC. With the Featherweight division introduced to the UFC, Guida may be able to do better in a new weight class. When fighting to rise up the ranks Guida tends to have relative success, but has faltered when fighting some of the elite in the weight class with his last four losses coming against title challengers in Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian (2x title challenger), Benson Henderson (current champion), and most recently Gray Maynard (2x title challenger). Guida has mentioned a potential drop down in weight before, but remained focus on a potential shot at the Lightweight title. With a chance at the Lightweight title continuously evading him, I would suggest that Guida seriously look into dropping down in weight. Coming from a wrestling background and always staying in shape means Guida is no stranger to a proper weight cut, and the drop to Featherweight is only -10lbs. An advantage that Guida tends to hold over his competition at Lightweight is usually agility with continuous cardio, and he could carry that with him in a move down. While competitors at Featherweight tend to already hold a speed advantage over their Lightweight colleagues, Guida proves to possible hold the advantage over them as well. Agility, experience, power, elusiveness, and a strong grappling skill set, combine to make Guida a threat against competitors at Lightweight even when they hold the advantage in size and strength, and those same advantages could translate to greater success at Featherweight. With these skills Guida could even be capable of dethroning Featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Frankie Edgar: Current weight = Lightweight; Suggested weight = Featherweight/Bantamweight if willing to drop more weight
Possibly one of the least appreciated fighters at Lightweight even after winning the division title, Frankie Edgar is one fighter who is openly asked by analysts and journalists why he still chooses to compete against opponents who almost always hold the size and strength advantage. At 5’6” Edgar is commonly outsized by his competition even while ranked at the #2 in the division with other top ten ranked opponents like Gray Maynard, Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz, Melvin Guillard, and Jim Miller standing anywhere from 2”-6” taller than him, with him also being at a reach disadvantage at times. Even after winning the division title as a heavy underdog defeating longtime #1 ranked champion B.J. Penn and again in an automatic rematch, Edgar was still seen as undersized for the weight class. That size disadvantage was visible in his most recent bout where he lost the division title to new champion Benson Henderson, where in the bout Henderson looked to be two weight classes above Edgar. Even by Edgar’s admission he only cuts around 5lbs at most or even nothing at all to make the maximum limit of 155lbs, which differs from other Lightweight competitors who cut anywhere from 10lbs and above to make weight. Even UFC President Dana White has mentioned he prefers that Edgar compete at his proper weight class at Featherweight, and has even asked him to do so. Walking around near 155lbs, dropping 10lbs should have little effect on his performance which would allow him to still have an edge in endurance, cardio, and agility. Even one of his own trainers suggests that he could drop down to Bantamweight where his size is even and could even have him at an advantage. Should he make the drop down to Featherweight Edgar could become one of few fighters to have ever won a UFC title in two weight classes, and could even go further should he consider a drop down to Bantamweight as well. With an elusive style combined with a technical boxing game and underrated grappling game, Edgar has the capability to excel at Featherweight should he decide to heed the advice of his peers.
Written by @MMAFanHQ