With the issue of weight-cutting reaching peak levels of divisiveness, here are ten fighters who could well move up in weight before all is said and done.
Whether it’s due to the sheer amount of weight they have to cut or simply due to them having the frame for it, here are ten fighters we would love to see at a higher weight-class.
‘No Love’ is a pretty big bantamweight and with KO power in both of his hands, who wouldn’t relish the prospect of getting him in there with some of the world’s finest featherweights? He’s tall, uses excellent footwork and has displayed his cardio at 135lbs so depending on how his matchup with TJ Dillashaw goes at UFC 227 – a 145lb Cody Garbrandt could well be a possibility.
Romero’s athleticism and speed would certainly allow him to be competitive at 205lbs and with his recent issues with making weight for UFC 225, do not be surprised to see ‘The Soldier of God’ stepping up into his fellow former-Olympian Daniel Cormier’s division before long.
Many forget that before making the drop, ‘El Cucuy’ actually won the Ultimate Fighter as a welterweight and standing at 5’11” with a 76-inch reach, he would be in no way undersized and in fact, would probably still hold the reach over most at 170lbs.
Holloway has never had any visible problems making 145lbs but as a relatively young fighter, his frame will no doubt fill out as he ages. He nearly made his lightweight debut against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, but with all the time in the world – expect to see ‘Blessed’ step up before long.
Joanna’s time at 115lbs could well be over. The champ Rose Namajunas has her number, simple as – and while she will have her work cut out to manage to steal the title of ‘strawweight G.O.A.T’ away from Jedrzejczyk, the future for the former-champ may lie at 125lbs. Seeing her face off against Valentina Shevchenko would be a matchup for the ages.
Out of all of these fighters, DJ probably is the most well-suited to his natural weight-class but let’s be real, he will never get the full respect he deserves unless he steps up and tests himself against the bigger men at 135lbs. There’s not a flyweight on the planet who was able to best Johnson so allowing the division to breathe would probably be for the best at this point.
Another man who has been calling for a 165lb division, Lee’s time at 155lbs might not come to an end until he finishes his title-run but in the future, this large lightweight could easily make a home for himself at welterweight where his wrestling, athleticism and gargantuan reach would make it an easy fit.
Till may well be the largest welterweight on the roster right now and after his well-publicised issues with his cut at UFC Liverpool, do not be surprised to see his time at 170lbs end abruptly. As one of the finest kickboxers in the UFC, his speed and timing would no doubt only be strengthened by a move to 185lbs and with many tantalising matchups available to this talented Liverpudlian, a successful title-run could see him take the plunge and step up.
Nurmagomedov destroys everyone he touches at 155lbs so obviously, the question now is how he would do against those who outweigh him. Sure, we’d love to see this Dagestani-destroyer come up against the likes of Georges St-Pierre or Tyron Woodley, but to be honest, any top-10 opponent at 170lbs would be a matchup worth paying for.
Light-heavyweight has been a good home to Alexander Gustafsson over the years but with losses against some of the division’s elite, this long and lanky Swede could easily slot into the current heavyweight lineup and given his technical striking and impeccible footwork, we could see him being pretty successful, so long as he keeps that chin safe.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena