For The "Nth" Time: A Super Heavyweight Division in The UFC?
It's been discussed numerous times, by numerous sources: Is it time for the UFC to implement a Super-Heavyweight Division?
Realistically the topic didn't gain a lot of steam until Brock Lesnar started throwing guys around the octagon with what looked like a 200-lbs. weight advantage. Now with a Brock Lesnar/Shane Carwin fight on the horizon, paired with The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, one would think it's time to add a sixth UFC division.
To start, here's my little "conspiracy theory", heading in the direction of Dana White and Zuffa really contemplating the addition of this division:
1. The UFC currently has roughly 25 Heavyweight competitors (This is taken from UFC.com's Heavyweight roster, and not considering fighters that move up from Light Heavyweight, I.E. Brandon Vera for his fight against Frank Mir)
2. 11 of these fighters are listed above 240-lbs.
3. The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights features 16 Heavyweight competitors fighting for a UFC contract. Half of these fighters weigh in over 240, with most walking around above that weight. This is the first season in which there are no qualifying fights, everyone gets a shot.
4. Many competitors on TUF are signed to the UFC anyways. Let's say best-case scenario, this lineup of 16 fighters produces 10-12 fighters signed to the UFC. It could technically work out to have 16 or so fighters on either side of the 240-lbs. mark.
Now of course, this is all information generated in my head, but it's not the worst idea is it? Under Unified Rules, 155 is a Lightweight, 170 a Welterweight, 185 a Middleweight, 205 is a Light Heavyweight and 265 is a Heavyweight. (These are all upper limits).
This being said, a fighter weighing in at 206 could take on an opponent up to 59 pounds heavier, clearly a disadvantage, and one not shared with any other weight class. Come fight day, when fighters put back on their natural weight, our little 206 friend could be taking on Brock Lesnar, realistically fighting at 285 pounds.
Now, this article isn't meant to bash Lesnar or his abilities, but I, and most others in the MMA world would agree that without the 45-pound advantage in the Lesnar-Couture fight, Brock probably would have lost to "The Natural".
I beleive we would also agree that under the current weight divisions, Fedor would probably suffer a similar fate at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
Gabriel Gonzaga fights at a weight between 255 and 260 pounds, of course his most famous victory came against Mirko "Cro Cop", a fighter around 230-235. A lot can be said for kickboxing technique, but I would no doubt stand in front of a 230-pound fighter throwing headkicks, than a 255-pounder. It's all about momentum.
Arguments can be made that separating weight classes and signing fighters to fill them would dilute the talent pool, and would lead to repeat fights. But anything can happen in the Octagon, and I'd rather see a fight like Frank Mir vs. Minotauro Nogueira happen four or five times. Two fighters at roughly the same size can make for many different outcomes, more so than can be said for two fighters with 40 pounds between them.
I realize that this article is not a crystal-clear guide as to how to go about separating a division and implement a new one. I realize that the "Super-Heavyweight" classification is reserved for 265+, but it is definitely a concept to be considered.
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