As of recently, there has been a recent trend in bigger fighters fighting at their natural weight and performing far better than they had previously done in their own division which they had to previously cut down to. Light Heavyweight has seen two new contenders recently who interestingly enough was not even top 10 in the Middleweight division when they were cutting weight to be the bigger man in a division that they could bully people in, however poor cardio usually follows and muscular endurance is a routine problem when fighting after a heavyweight cut. Recently, TJ Dillashaw cut weight and moved down and although he made it comfortably, he was clipped very early on in the contest and finished in under 40 seconds by UFC Flyweight Champion Henry Cejudo.
Top Light Heavyweight contender Anthony Smith will challenge UFC kingpin Jon Jones this Saturday, since his days of being an average Middleweight Smith has moved up in weight class and has defeated Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua and Volkan Oezdemir, all either having been champion or a number one contender, Smith finishing all 3 of them. One of the mean that battered Anthony Smith at Middleweight en route to a second round (T)KO has looked invincible since moving up to Light Heavyweight, that man is Thiago Santos, having (T)KO’d Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz.
This has been evident in the women’s divisions with notable fighters such as Joanne Calderwood and Amanda Nunes performing at their best since moving up in a weight class, Nunes recently causing a major upset by defeating Pound for Pound Queen Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino. Although there are benefits in moving down as shown by Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade, the recent performances have been interesting most notably by Joanne Calderwood, Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith who have been able to truly cement themselves as legitimate title threats in their new weight classes. The best examples in history for moving is tough to call but as of right now Daniel Cormier’s Heavyweight reign has been legendary from StrikeForce to the UFC. Another contender would be Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson who went from a lingering Welterweight and one-time Middleweight talent (missing weight multiple times in both divisions) talent to arguably the scariest knockout artist in MMA history. John Lineker at Bantamweight has also been an incredible force since moving up to Bantamweight, as has Kelvin Gastelum who is set to fight for the Interim Middleweight title shot against Israel Adesanya. Robert Whittaker went from being an average Welterweight to being the second greatest Middleweight talent in UFC history, obviously still behind Anderson Silva.
The sky truly is the limit.