After a fight in which the then-UFC champion simply had no answers for the up-and-coming contender Jon Jones, many, including UFC commentator Joe Rogan, are already saying that Mauricio Rua is simply too small for the 205-pound division.
While I'm sure that size did play a factor in his fight with Jon Jones, and I do think that Shogun could probably make 185 pounds, the whole theme of a fighter being too small for a weight class is getting tiresome and, frankly, ridiculous.
Shogun At 185?
Mauricio Rua has always carried a bit of fat with him, so if he did trim a bit of that fat and did a serious weight cut, he could conceivably make 185 pounds, but so could just about every other contender at 205.
Lyoto Machida once weighed in at 199 pounds for a fight against David Heath. Rashad Evans, next in line for the light-heavyweight belt, is also very small for 205.
Those three fighters make up three out of the top five fighters in the 205-pound division, and moreover, they've all had serious success against larger fighters.
Machida and Evans both fought successfully at heavyweight, and while Evans has only lost to Machida, Machida has only lost to Shogun and controversially to Quinton Jackson, who was also beaten by Evans and Shogun.
If they're too small, let's move them down to 185. Unfortunately, if you take out everybody who could potentially make 185, then the 205 pound division would probably be left with Quinton Jackson, Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Thiago Silva and a dozen other guys you've never heard of who Machida, Shogun and Evans could probably punt out of the Octagon.
Yet aside from the fact that moving all these fighters would simply move the talent down a weight class, I have other problems with the whole narrative.
The "He's Fighting In the Wrong Weight Class" Narrative
It seems that whenever size plays a factor in a fight, people are quick to say that the smaller guy is too small.
Thus, when BJ Penn got beat up in the third round by Jon Fitch, people said that he was too small to fight with a monster like Fitch.
When Fedor Emelianenko lost to Antonio Silva, people blamed that on weight as well.
Now we'd be foolish to say that size didn't play a factor in those fights, but that was hardly the defining one.
In last night's fight, we saw Jones dominate Rua. Strength and size were factors, but so were Jones's wrestling, creativity, athleticism, composure, and top position grappling ability.
To attribute so much of that victory to size and strength doesn't give nearly enough credit to all of the amazing things that Jones did, and the same goes for Fitch, Antonio Silva and any other larger fighter who has ever had a loss discounted because of the size issue.
Never mind that being a smaller, quicker fighter is occasionally an advantage.
Part of what made Frank Edgar so effective against BJ Penn was his speed and agility that wouldn't be there if he wasn't a small lightweight.
Fedor Emelianenko has always benefited from being a quicker heavyweight.
And Lyoto Machida's elusiveness must be at least somewhat helped by that fact that he isn't a big lumbering light heavyweight.
When 6'4" fighters like Jon Jones come to dominate the sport with iron grips at the ends of their 84-inch reaches, we may need to reconsider what kind of physique is required for the 205-pound weight class.
But until that happens, he's one man, and Shogun Rua is still one of the best light-heavyweights in the world.
If we look forward to the most likely man to defeat Jon Jones sometime in the foreseeable future, we may be looking at Cain Velasquez, a medium-sized UFC heavyweight world champion, and 6'0" on a good day.