With the new bigger breed of fighters cracking into mixed martial arts (MMA), athletes are competing these days in smaller weight classes to get maximize their advantages inside the cage.
It's become the norm rather than the exception.
Fighters such as Forrest Griffin and Jon Jones usually outweigh their opponents come fight night and could easily fight at heavyweight; however, both have found significant success in the 205-pound division -- Jones is the current light heavyweight champion and Griffin a former title holder.
Mauricio Rua is one of the few light heavyweights who fights at his natural weight. "Shogun" is too small for heavyweight and too big for middleweight. Ironically enough, Shogun is himself a former light heavyweight champion with losses to both Jones and Griffin.
Many fans have often wondered how the Brazilian would perform as a middleweight and whether not he could give the seemingly unstoppable 185-pound champion a run for his money.
Eduardo Alonso, Rua's manager, tells Tatame.com that a drop to middleweight is not in his client's foreseeable future:
"Honestly, I don't think about it. Shogun is a guy who naturally weights over 100kg. His legs are heavy, so it's hard for him to lose weight. He can drop to 93kg and perform in high level. Few athletes have beaten up so many top 10 athletes like Shogun did. I don't see why he'd drop to the middleweight division... It'd be hard on him; I guess he'd suffer a lot."
"I guess a win over Dan Henderson, to anyone, is a big deal. It doesn't matter in which division it is. Dan Henderson is on top since Rings. He's the current Strikeforce champion on the weight class; he's coming from impressive wins, including the one over Fedor, which is something we can never undermine. Beating Dan Henderson is a great deal for one's career. Fighting for the belt or not is a natural consequence, it's not something we have to worry about. We can't predict what will come to us. The important is for us to do our jobs, than later we'll see. If it's worth the title, great. If it's not, there's no big deal about it, we'll keep on working."
MMA greats such as Randy Couture, Dan Henderson and B.J. Penn have held the titles in two different weight classes. Current middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva has also found success at light heavyweight, but has yet to challenge for the division's title.
With Shogun's success at light heavyweight in both PRIDE and the UFC, a move down does not seem necessary. Not now, anyway.
Not when Quinton Jackson is waiting for his turn to fight Shogun next.