6 UFC Guys Who Could Benefit from a New Weight Class
It's safe to say that not everyone competing in MMA is at home in their weight class. Dudes have gone up or down in weight and become worldbeaters far too often to believe otherwise.
Names like Tim Boetsch, TJ Grant, Anthony Johnson and Demtrious Johnson have all switched classes and enjoyed varying levels of success after a weight reinvention, and they're not the only ones who have.
Nor are they the only ones who should have.
Here are six guys on the roster right now who should be considering a move.
Down: TJ Dillashaw to Flyweight
We're going to start in a weird direction here. Stick with me.
Dillashaw has been a monster at bantamweight and looks like he's going to be a title contender by early 2015 at the latest. Unfortunately, when that happens, the buck is going to stop pretty forcefully when he sees Renan Barao across the cage.
Should that day come, it's more than viable for Dillashaw to try for 125 and see what's cooking there. He's not a large bantamweight by any means, but he'd be a gigantic flyweight. Coupled with his considerable skills, which are still developing, he would have a real shot at beating Demetrious Johnson. He'd be the type of physical opponent Johnson hasn't seen during his reign.
It isn't going to happen immediately, or even soon, but Dillashaw should keep his eye on things in the division below him anyway.
Up: Urijah Faber to Featherweight
For all the talk about Chad Mendes being the best guy in the promotion to not have a world title, that honor actually belongs to Urijah Faber—and it's not even close.
The guy has been an absolute wrecking ball at bantamweight after years of crushing opponents at featherweight. If the UFC ever bestowed a World Bridesmaid Championship, he'd win it without a doubt.
That said, after years of dual-weight dominance and no titles since 2008, it might be time for a change. All that is old becomes new again, and that's the case for the 145-pound edition of The California Kid.
With talk of champion Jose Aldo jumping to lightweight and Faber coming off his second bantamweight title loss to Renan Barao after another to Dominick Cruz, the stars are aligning for him to move back up in weight.
He's still very good and incredibly competitive against the top talent in the game, but 135 is more clogged for him than 145. Moving up in weight might also see him move up the ranks and finally land a UFC title.
Down: Sergio Pettis to Flyweight
Something became painfully clear when Sergio Pettis lost to Alex Caceres at UFC on FOX 10.
He is far too small to fight at bantamweight at this stage in his career.
Though he acquitted himself quite well in the loss, it was obvious that he struggled with the sheer bulk of his opponent—a lanky, rangy 135-pounder.
Many people were confused as to why Anthony's little brother came into the UFC as a bantamweight anyway, after half of his fights had been at 125 and he'd had serious success there as the RFA flyweight champion.
The Caceres loss exposed his size disadvantage and showed him to be a man best suited to a lower weight class until he fills out a little more. His skill can shine there, and the promotion needs more at 125, so it makes perfect sense for him to drop down for his next tilt.
Up: Benson Henderson to Welterweight
In terms of guys trapped in their division, Benson Henderson might be in the worst position in MMA. He'll beat the vast majority of lightweights in the world, but the guy holding the title beat him twice and the most recent fight was a blowout. Not exactly a recipe for a third chance.
With fans probably lower on him than they've ever been following another controversial win at UFC on FOX 10, an interesting avenue for the massive lightweight might be to try his hand in the waters of 170 pounds—something he's pondered in the past.
He has one of the harder weight cuts in the sport, and while it never seems to hinder his performance, the physical component coupled with a stagnant path to a title might be reason enough to push him up a few pounds.
Down: Martin Kampmann to Lightweight
Looking at Martin Kampmann, it's hard to imagine that he ever survived a career as a middleweight. He did, though, and he actually thrived at the weight despite being woefully undersized.
At 170, the Dane is a tough out for anyone, but he's also not exactly hulking when he enters the cage. His small frame might be one that's suited to move down a weight class when he returns from a self-imposed hiatus in the future.
He would be a big 155-pounder, and still the type of technical, durable kickboxer that gives people fits. He's always been underrated, and with so many interesting fights for him at lightweight, he might be able to get into title talk with a few big wins.
In terms of a full-blown reinvention after some time off, there are far worse ideas out there than Kampmann dropping down a class.
Up: Jose Aldo to Lightweight
The idea that UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo should move up a weight class—where, incidentally, the only loss of his career took place—has been bandied about for years.
If all the dudes who talk a bunch but never get in the cage can get it worked out, he's likely going to do so later this year in a proposed fight with Anthony Pettis.
People are salivating at the thought, and potential for violence notwithstanding there's good reason.
Aldo has struggled with conditioning as he's aged and his body has filled out, making the cut to 145 something of a nightmare. Moving up in weight would likely add a little pep in his step come fight night, and matching him with Pettis immediately might also make him a two-division champion when he moves.
There's lots to like about Jose Aldo at lightweight, and out of everyone on this list, he might be the most likely to move in his next fight.