Despite the ongoing weight-cutting problems, we’ve still come a long way.
About a decade ago, the prevailing wisdom in mixed martial arts (MMA) had fighters dropping down a weight class after a couple of tough losses, hoping a size advantage would improve their luck. Unfortunately, it also led to horror shows like this.
These days, fighters are starting to move up.
Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum went from struggling welterweights to middleweight champion and 185-pound No. 1 contender, respectively. Anthony Smith was a mediocre middleweight who returned to 205 pounds and promptly laid waste to three straight opponents, two of them former champions.
Perhaps it’s time for Chris Weidman to follow suit, according to head coach Ray Longo.
“I really did think the weight cut went really well but who knows?” Longo told the Anik & Florian podcast (via MMA Fighting). “The brain is the last place to get the fluid when you rehydrate, so again, maybe 205’s a better fit because I don’t see this ever happening in the gym, ever. So maybe 205 might be a place where he comes in stronger, more coherent, all those things.”
Weidman (14-4) was once considered the best middleweight on the planet and one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Then came a drubbing against Luke Rockhold, which cost him the crown, followed by a 1-3 streak that saw him finished three times.
Including last weekend’s technical knockout loss to Jacare Souza at UFC 230 (video).
At age 34, Weidman simply may have nothing left at his current weight and might need to consider — as this former rival did — a trip north. While the competition may not get any easier, the “All American” can at least be a little healthier.