I know this may seem like a ridiculous statement to many, but at the same time it definitely has some validity: Is Brock Lesnar really the UFC's best pound-for-pound heavyweight?
Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir
Leading into the Mir-Lesnar fight, there was a lot of talk. Most of the talk was about how Mir was more technical and a better all-around mixed martial artist, but Lesnar was a better wrestler, and, oh yeah, he is much bigger.
To summarize what that means...basically, “pound for pound,” Mir was a better fighter.
Still, many people watching UFC 100 didn’t give Mir a chance. It didn’t matter if they were new to the sport of longtime viewers. Lesnar just looked too big; he looked like too much to overcome.
Many hardcore fans tried to argue that Mir’s technical skills gave him the advantage against Lesnar. They said he had more than a chance to prevail, but I (along with many others) saw the size differential as too much to overcome.
Mir came into the fight at 245 pounds, while Lesnar walked into the ring, on fight night, at 280-plus.
That is quite a differential. That differential helped lead to his domination of Mir and it will help him continue to dominate, especially when he fights the heavyweight division's much smaller fighters.
I know a lot of people will say “tough luck”; that is part of being a heavyweight. They are not flawed in that statement. According to the rules, Lesnar is undoubtedly the best heavyweight fighter the UFC has to offer.
But...is he the UFC’s best heavyweight pound for pound?
What Is a Pound-for-Pound Champ?
In an era where everyone debates the top pound-for-pound fighters, where are the limits drawn?
We already know that Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, B.J. Penn, and Fedor Emelianenko are looked at as some of the best in the world, pound for pound. These rankings have been earned because each of these fighters have gone out and dominated their respective weight class.
Is domination of a weight class the only criteria, though?
A Penn vs. GSP “super fight” was supposed to move Penn up the pound-for-pound rankings. A win by Penn would prove to the world he had the best ratio of skill to weight.
Penn lost that fight, though, and it wasn’t even close; still, Penn is considered one of the best in the world pound for pound. Some still rank him above GSP.
I guess there is no shame in losing to someone who is a full weight class bigger than you.
GSP outweighs Penn by 15 pounds.
Lesnar outweighs Mir by 35-plus pounds.
Is it possible Mir is a better pound-for-pound fighter? Does this make sense in the same weight class?
Lesnar beat Couture and, at the time, he outweighed Couture by 60-plus pounds.
Is it possible that Couture was also a better pound-for-pound fighter?
History and Logic
I have discussed this in a previous article about Brock Lesnar and his size. I proposed that he isn’t a truly a heavyweight—he's one of the first true super heavyweights.
A lot of people didn’t agree with me, but I stand by what I said.
My statements are not declaring Lesnar as any sort of fraud, or as anything but a champion, but I think this is the way the sport is going.
MMA is becoming more and more popular every day. More popularity means more money. More money means more fighters. More fighters means there will be more monsters, with skill, that are cutting to 265.
Where does that leave people the size of Frank Mir? Should he be expected to fight and win against people that outweigh him by 40 pounds? Or would most people his size disappear?
I know it happened back in the early days, but the sport has changed a lot since then. Every MMA fighter has to become an expert in multiple techniques. It is just the evolution of the sport.
Everywhere else in the UFC, fighters who are too small for their weight class drop down.
Examples of this are: Randy Couture (lightheavy), Kenny Florian, Rashad Evan, Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk, Michael Bisping, Wanderlei Silva, and many more.
I think a move should be made to create a new weight class, or, in essence, cut the heavyweight class in half.
If the cut–off for heavyweight was 230 pounds, we could see fights between the likes of Big Nog, Mir, Couture, Cro Cop, Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez and other fighters that can cut to that size.
This creates lots of interesting matchups and ones that aren’t going to be as one-sided as Brock vs. any one of the above names.
Then we could see super heavyweights like Brock Lesnar fight people that may actually have a reasonable chance of beating him. Match him up with and Shane Carwin, Tim Hague, Heath Herring, Mike Wessell, or, heck, maybe go get Bobby Lashley to make it interesting. Plus I’m sure TUF 10 will probably add a few names to the mix.
The new breed of super heavyweights is not a bunch Tim Silvia clones; this is a whole different animal. These guys are a new kind of MMA athlete.
Let Lesnar pick on people his own size.
There is an added perk to this move, too—well, for the UFC, anyway. The UFC gets another title out of the deal. We all know how hard it is to hype up any PPV without a title on the line; well, this gives them one more belt. One more belt means two or three more main events a year.
Right now it is just an idea, and I believe eventually it will become a need.
It wasn’t that long ago that the lightweight division was looked at as silly. Now there are quality fights in the featherweight, bantamweight, and flyweight classes. Times have changed.
Times will continue to change, and I believe this in the next step.