After a devastating knockout loss to Shane Carwin that destroyed his hopes for a rubber match with Brock Lesnar, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir has started talking about a move down to Light Heavyweight.
In a video interview with MMAFigs.com (hence why the man is awkwardly holding and gesturing with an action figure for the duration of the video clip), Mir mentions that it’s gotten harder in the Heavyweight division with guys like Lesnar and Carwin, who cut upwards of forty pounds to make the 265 limit.
“I’m watching what I eat, trying to look at what my body will do…I’m kind of curious to see where I will fall at,” said Mir.
Later, he cited the specific example of Forrest Griffin. “Sometimes I stand next to Forrest and think I’m in the wrong weight class.”
Firstly, I need to point out that all of this analysis is speculative in nature. Mir isn’t even saying he’s going to move down a weight class, or even that his next fight may be at 205. Rather, he’s modifying his diet to see where his natural weight falls, at which point he’ll start considering the move.
People who know me personally have known of my angst over the Heavyweight Division. There’s an inherent unfairness in it, since every other weight class has a range of 15 pounds while heavyweight has a sixty pound range. And realistically it’s greater than that, since the bigger a fighter is the more weight he can comfortably cut.
So is a move down to 205 advisable, and how would Mir fare in the Light Heavyweight division?
Firstly, it needs to be noted that fighters like Lesnar and Carwin jumped to the top of the ranks not because of sheer size but also superb athletic ability and a freakish commitment to physical conditioning. Particularly Lesnar, who even in that lull where he wasn’t wrestling or trying out for the Vikings but hadn’t yet started his MMA career, was still maintaining the training regiment of a full-time athlete.
Then again, Mir himself proved guys like Lesnar aren’t unbeatable. Anybody can be caught. Frank caught Brock in the latter’s UFC debut with a simple heel hook, and the real challenge for Lesnar with Carwin isn’t just that he no longer has a significant size advantage but that it tests his abilities against a fighter with superb stand-up who himself has a wrestling background and won’t be at a disadvantage on the ground.
The other problem is that Mir is a naturally big man. He may stand next to Griffin and not have to look down on him, but Griffin has a wildly entirely different build, bone structure, musculature and body type than Mir. Mir also has a lower Body Fat Percentage than Forrest.
I don’t think a move down to Light Heavyweight is the right move for Mir. When he mentions modifying his diet and regiment to drop down to a lower weight, what he doesn’t realize is that those are elements of a weight cut. Whatever weight he reaches wouldn’t be his “normal” walking weight, but the bare minimum for him before he makes the final cut for the weigh-in. Say he gets to 240 pounds on a strict diet and heavy cardio. That means he’ll have to cut an additional 35 pounds to make it to the 205 limit. That’s a rough cut for an athlete of any size.
Sure, he’s at a size disadvantage at Heavyweight. But he’s going to be at a severe conditioning and skill disadvantage at 205, especially since Mir has never been the type of fighter that uses strength and size to push around his opponents.
More power to Mir, though, who is at least looking at every possible option in modifying his game and extending his time in the limelight. I just don’t think the move would be a wise one, and I hope Mir realizes that before it’s too late.