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Old 10-26-2009, 03:48 PM   #1
Graham Tidey
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How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

My question is this - how does one sensibly decide which weight division to fight in? You often see tall, skinny guys in the UFC fighting short, muscle bound guys who look much stronger. Why is there such an obvious difference in body shape in the same division?

For what reason did the skinny guy decide not to bulk up and fight in the division above, using the strength he earned building muscle?

For what reason did the short guy not move down a division and be one of the strongest at a smaller weight?

My friends and I often talk about moving up or down weight classes in BJJ but don't know the logic behind it.

Any help?
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:34 PM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

Maybe the tall thin guy likes his reach advantage in the lighter class, and/or wasn't able to bulk up enough to avoid getting destroyed in the heavier class. Maybe the short strong guy couldn't comfortably make the weight in a lighter division. Even with ideal nutrition and training, there's a limit to how far you can push your weight in either direction without sacrificing something else.

In something like the UFC, you have an additional wrinkle in that different arts favor different body types. All boxers at a given weight might have similar body types, but a UFC striker might not look like a UFC grappler.

Katherine
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:02 PM   #3
John Seiler
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

And then you have guys like Cro Cop. The only reason I can figure he didn't drop down a weight class is because it's really hard work. Of course, when they get to the top of the food chain and get their butts handed to them some get wise, ala Brandon Vera.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:37 AM   #4
Brian Lawyer
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

This is a legit question I myself have been wondering. I generally have been walking around at 195 - 200 for probably 7-8 years now. I noticed on an amateur level the light/heavy division (185 - 205) guys usually suck and the middle weights (185) division is usually stacked with badass guys. For some reason the medium range for good fighters lands them around middle weight. For that reason, I never saw the benefit of cutting weight to be a middle weight. Especially, when it came to an elimination type tourney. I may only have two other guys to fight in ligh/heavy but in middle weights need to fight 5 or 6 guys. So from an amateur perspective I found it advantageous to be a "light" light/heavy. If I was going to go UFC I would get my a** kicked because all those light/heavy guys generally walk around about 220 and cut weight to 205 for fight.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:17 PM   #5
Chris Westerström
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

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Originally Posted by John Seiler View Post
And then you have guys like Cro Cop. The only reason I can figure he didn't drop down a weight class is because it's really hard work. Of course, when they get to the top of the food chain and get their butts handed to them some get wise, ala Brandon Vera.
strikers tend not to cut weight as much as wrestlers
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:54 PM   #6
Jonathan Cedolia
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

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Originally Posted by Brian Lawyer View Post
This is a legit question I myself have been wondering. I generally have been walking around at 195 - 200 for probably 7-8 years now. I noticed on an amateur level the light/heavy division (185 - 205) guys usually suck and the middle weights (185) division is usually stacked with badass guys. For some reason the medium range for good fighters lands them around middle weight. For that reason, I never saw the benefit of cutting weight to be a middle weight. Especially, when it came to an elimination type tourney. I may only have two other guys to fight in ligh/heavy but in middle weights need to fight 5 or 6 guys. So from an amateur perspective I found it advantageous to be a "light" light/heavy. If I was going to go UFC I would get my a** kicked because all those light/heavy guys generally walk around about 220 and cut weight to 205 for fight.
What do you think a guy like Matt Huges walks around at. He looks huge when you see him out of the ring?
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:44 AM   #7
Matt Corley
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

I'd say at least 185 maybe 5 to 10 lbs more. He's a life long wrestler so I doubt a 15lb cut is that difficult for him.

The two biggest in the welterweight division are Anthony Johnson and Thiago Alves. Both walk around at 200+.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:02 PM   #8
Sean Dunston
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

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Originally Posted by Matt Corley View Post
I'd say at least 185 maybe 5 to 10 lbs more. He's a life long wrestler so I doubt a 15lb cut is that difficult for him.

The two biggest in the welterweight division are Anthony Johnson and Thiago Alves. Both walk around at 200+.
I read somewhere (can't find source) that GSP walks around at about 190# - and I don't doubt it.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:57 PM   #9
Matt Corley
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

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I read somewhere (can't find source) that GSP walks around at about 190# - and I don't doubt it.
I read the same. It was when he was being asked about moving to middleweight to fight Anderson. He basically said he walks around b/t 185 and 190 so to fight middle weight he'd have to gain some weight.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:48 PM   #10
Oliver Gould
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Re: How do Fighters Decide Their Fighting Weights?

I'm the process of this decision for boxing (though I don't need to dial things in just yet). I think everyone has made good points, but I'd like to add one thing - speed. Speed is obviously key for everyone, but if you're naturally a little slow and you can move up a class without losing even more speed, you are better off. I hit hard, but I'm just not very fast - I'm about as fast as the guys 10-20#heavier. My coach has discussed the idea that I have room on my frame and should move up to people more my speed where I can take advantage of my power.
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