As we all know the UFC will soon introduce a new 125lbs division. This announcement got me thinking, as more and more fighters join the UFC they will inevitably have to add new weight classes right? So, which weight class will be next?
As of right now there are 8 different weight classes with a total of over 302 fighters under contract in the UFC. The last thing any of us want is for MMA to become like boxing and have a ridiculous amount of weight classes. I personally am fine with the current weight classes, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the introduction of one or two new weight classes in the near future.
Well, the whole point of this fanpost is to see what you guys think about adding another weight class in the future. After thinking about it for a while I came up with 4 different options.
Option #1 – Introducing a 115lbs division (Stawweight or Minimumweight)
I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t know too much about the littlest guys (anything below 135), but if I’ve learned anything from boxing is that there are a ton of scrappy tiny fighters in the world. I imagine that as the UFC and MMA begins to expand globally more fighters from countries like Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand; etc will begin training in Mixed Martial Arts. I know it’s hard to think about adding yet another weight class for the little guys so soon after adding the new 125lbs division. I’m not saying that it will or it should happen, I’m just trying to see which weight class you guys think will be next.
Option #2 – Introducing a new 165lbs division and moving the welterweight limit from 170lbs to 175lbs
I’ve always wondered why the lower weight classes are divided by 10lbs while the higher weight classes are divided by 15 or 20 pounds. Doesn’t it make sense to just have all weigh classes be 10lbs apart? The lightweight division and the welterweight division are the two most stacked divisions in the UFC. There are currently over 50 lightweight fighters, and over 58 welterweight fighters under contract with the UFC. An introduction of a new 165lbs division would allow large lightweights to move up without giving up too much size, and it would also let the smaller welterweights a chance to move down without having to make an extreme weight cut. A 165lbs division would be perfect for guys like BJ Penn, Gleison Tibau, Dennis Hallman, Diego Sanchez, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, etc. The welterweight division would still exist but the weight limit would be changed to 175lbs making the weight cut easier for some of the larger Welterweights like Thiago Alvez, Rumble Johnson, and Jake Shields. Plus some of the smaller middleweights like Damian Maia would find a 175lbs division more inviting than a 185lbs division
Personally this is the option that makes the most sense. I’m a fan of symmetry and I would love it if the difference between weight classes were the same in all divisions. Imagine all the new interesting match-ups that this new weight division would provide? Plus since the 155 and 170 divisions are the most stacked divisions neither weight class would suffer from an introduction of a 165 division.
Option #3 – Introducing a 195lbs division (Super middleweight or Franklinweight)
There have already been a couple of catch weight fights at this weight limit, all of them involving Rich Franklin (Hence the Franklinweight name). A 195lbs division would be ideal for huge middleweights like Vitor and Yushin Okami, but more importantly it would provide the smaller light heavyweights like Shogun, Dan Henderson and the aforementioned Rich Franklin with a new weight class to reign. The whole point of weight divisions is to make fights fair, but when you have monsters like Jon Jones, Forrest Griffin, and Tito Ortiz who walk around at over 230lbs fighting guys like Rashad Evans, and Rich Franklin that likely don’t go over 215lbs you can’t really call the fight fair (or at least as fair as it could be).
As I’ve mentioned before it makes sense for weight classes to be separated by an equal amount of pounds. It seems that whenever a light heavyweight tries making the twenty pound cut to 185lbs they end up draining themselves and their performances suffer because of it (I’m looking at you James "Zombie" Irvin).
The problem with a new 195lbs weight division is the shortage of fighters fighting at 185lbs and 205lbs. Unlike the lightweight and welterweight divisions there aren’t as many fighters fighting at 205lbs. As of right now there are only 30 light heavyweight’s under contract with the UFC. That’s right there are even less light heavyweights than heavyweights (31 as of right now). Making a new weight class would benefit the smaller light heavyweights but it would leave the division a bit empty. So unless more small heavyweights start dropping down to 205 or the UFC absorbs the Strikeforce 205 division I don’t see this happening anytime soon.
Option #4 – Introducing a 225lbs division (Cruiserweight) and expanding the HW limit to 285lbs (or more).
This is the idea that has been talked about the most. In an ideal world you wouldn’t have guys like Randy Couture that barely weigh in at 225lbs fighting guys like Brock that tip the scales at over 270lbs. But as we all know the problem with this idea is the lack of heavyweights. Even with the addition of the Strikeforce heavyweights there still wouldn’t be more than 40 or 45 HW’s in the UFC.
I’m sure some of the smaller HW’s like Chieck Kongo, Joey Beltran, and Pat Barry would rather cut down to 225lbs and fight people their own size, but there simply aren’t enough huge people like Brock, and Shane to warrant a new HW division. So unless more sumo wrestlers start fighting in the UFC I doubt we will see a cruiserweight division anytime soon in the UFC.
So... thoughts? I know a lot of you are opposed to adding any new weight classes for fear of MMA becoming like boxing, but which division do you think will be added next? The way I see it one or two new divisions would make fights a bit fairer, and I bet the UFC would love to have more champions to promote.
Here are the number of current UFC fighters by weight class. (According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_UFC_fighters)
HW - 31
LHW - 30
MW - 46
WW – 58
LW – 50
FW – 46
BW – 36
FLW – 5