In 2018, we are seeing more and more fighters struggle to make weight. The disturbing thing about weight cutting culture is that elite athletes are taking themselves to the edge in order to reach their division’s weight limit.
We have even heard reports from Michael Chiesa that he believed he was going to die during his last cut.
‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and in time, weight cutting issues will increase to the point where another division has to be opened. Promotions in Brazil have begun to adopt more weight classes.
Unfortunately, American promotions such as the UFC and Bellator are behind the curve. A 165 pound division (light welterweight?) would potentially be the most exciting in the UFC. Currently lightweight and welterweight are the most scintillating weight classes, 165 pounds would include the best of both.
The biggest stars at featherweight, lightweight and welterweight are huge for their divisions. Kevin Lee; Michael Chiesa and Khabib Nurmagomedov have all called for a weight class between welter and lightweight.
Brian Ortega and Max Holloway cut a ton of weight to get down to 145 pounds. When Max Holloway pulled out of his featherweight title defence at UFC 222, Conor McGregor offered to step in against Frankie Edgar. McGregor proposed that the late notice bout be for the inaugural 165 pound belt.
The division could also accomodate a money fight. Georges St-Pierre is flirting with the idea of a return to MMA. The former two weight champion would of course only return to face a big name opponent in a superfight.
He has leaned down significantly of late, a health precaution after a battle with Colitis brought on by his bulk up to middleweight. ‘GSP’ has discussed a lightweight bout for his return but perhaps 165 pounds would be optimum.
We have seen many cases of elite fighters improving their performance by cutting less weight. Donald Cerrone and Rafael Dos Anjos both struggled with the cut to lightweight. Both fighters gave their career new vigour by stepping up to 170 pounds. Two weight champion Daniel Cormier is far more explosive at heavyweight.
A light heavyweight division would be a great business move. The biggest stars in the promotion would compete at that weight and they would be at their peak.
I do not want to sound like a UFC basher. I actually struggle to understand why so many MMA fans nit-pick the product that they watch.
However, it is a no-brainer that more weight classes are needed. Hopefully it does not take a fatality for UFC execs and that of other promotions to realise this.