Nate Diaz’s Super Fighter Division Looks Like it Will be a Reality With Reports That a New 165 Lb Division Will Open After UFC 233…
If you watch Kamaru Usman beat Rafael Dos Anjos at the weekend, you’ll have seen exactly what’s wrong with the UFC’s medium weight classes. Dos Anjos is a great fighter. Despite depleting himself to make lightweight, he was still able to become the champion of the world. Eventually, after surrendering his title, he moved up to welterweight where he started life in incredible style.
However, it’s become clear that Dos Anjos has a ceiling at welterweight. When he takes on bigger fighters – who could compete at middleweight – like Usman, he struggles. Soon Dos Anjos might have a chance to compete for his natural weight-class. The 165lb division.
If reports are to be believed, the super-lightweight division will open after UFC 233, which could see a host of fighters move up and down between the 155lb and 170lb rosters.
— Josh Thomson (@THEREALPUNK) December 1, 2018
It’s been well-documented but it looks like the 125lb division is on its way out of the door. The UFC has already allowed one of the most dominant champions in their history, Demetrious Johnson, to go to ONE Championship, signalling to his fellow flyweights that they’re on their last legs.
TJ. Dillashaw looks set to take on Henry Cejudo in the last hurrah for the division, with champion taking on champion. We don’t know what will happen if Cejudo wins, but it looks like the UFC are sending down their bantamweight king to crush the flyweights once and for all.
Former Strikeforce champion and current fight analyst Josh Thomson has revealed that the UFC is finally serious about opening up the division that everybody has been asking for. If he’s right, then this could be one of the most exciting announcements in the history of the UFC. He tweeted:
“125 weight class is done after @TJDillashaw VS @HenryCejudo from all the @ufc executives I’ve talk to. 165lb weight class is replacing it.”
Think of the fighters who would be at their maximum if they were in that group: Khabib Nurmagamedov, Donald Cerrone, Kevin Lee, Michael Chiesa, Nate Diaz… the list goes on and on and on. This is a move that definitely makes sense for the future of the organization, and will reduce the chances of fighters cutting brutal amounts of weight.
It is a curious move from the UFC to just shut down an entire division though. While western audiences prefer to watch heavier weight-classes, it’s fair to say that the promotion has lacked pragmatism when it came to marketing towards Asian audiences. ONE has made massive gains in the east and looks set to dominate that market. Lighter fighters are very popular there, because of their technicality and skill.
If Demetrious Johnson goes on to be a massive star in Asia, it will show that his personality wasn’t the problem. The UFC’s limited ability to promote a certain type of fighter is the issue. Of course, only time will tell.