Over at Sherdog, Jake Rossen has moved on from telling fighters to retire and is now trying his hand at telling fighters to change weight classes. Although I don’t agree with all of his picks, I am glad to see someone else talking about fighters being in the wrong weight classes. Fightlinker has been talking about this issue since Pride fighters started getting whupped in the octagon : it’s not a PRIDE curse, it’s just smaller fighters getting beaten by bigger fighters.
Size advantage is a huge boon, and there’s nowhere you’ll see this more than in the UFC over the past few months. As Rossen points out, Mirko Crocop looked tiny against monsters like Cheick Kongo and Gabriel Gonzaga. Shogun Rua also seemed out muscled compared to Forrest Griffin, and when you see Wanderlei Silva alongside UFC guys I bet you’ll notice a strength difference there too.
It’s not surprising that most fighters in the UFC have already shifted into the best weight class for their body type. The UFC is a crucible which chews up and spits out fighters who haven’t done all the cutting they can. I’ve lost count of the number of fighters who have dropped one or even two weight classes in the UFC. Because if you’re not cutting like a motherfucker in the UFC, you’re gonna get tooled by someone who is.
On the other hand, Pride never really did give a shit about weight classes. With open weight fights and open weight tournaments, a guy was just as likely to fight someone 100 pounds heavier as they were to fight someone 20 pounds heavier. Different fighters jumped between weight classes from fight to fight, and you often didn’t know who you were fighting until a week before the event, let alone what weight you were supposed to be.
So it really doesn’t surprise me that Pride guys are having a hard time adjusting to this new system. If you ask me, I think the majority of the Pride superstars need to drop a weight class: Mirko, Wanderlei, Hendo, and Shogun being at the forefront of that statement. I dunno if other incoming fighters have noticed this, but at least some guys are thinking smart. Ryo Chonan, who is better known as a tubby middleweight, is making the cut to welterweight so as not to give up any size.
Long story short: if you’re not cutting, you’re not winning. Or if you are winning, just wait till you fight someone in the top ranks who is cutting. Then you’ll lose.