Question about MMA/Boxing - "Natural" Weight Class Question about MMA/Boxing - "Natural" Weight Class

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Thread: Question about MMA/Boxing - "Natural" Weight Class

  1. #1
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    Default Question about MMA/Boxing - "Natural" Weight Class

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    Hi, Mark.

    I'm a fan of MMA, and I know now that fighters cut water weight to make weight for a weight class - so a LHW wouldn't weigh 205 on fight night, for example. I'm just curious as to see your opinion on strength training for these guys - should they focus on NOT putting on muscle, or put on muscle and strength and fight at a higher weight class?

    PS I'm not a fighter, just curious.

  2. #2
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    Depends on age, frame, and other factors, for all weight-class sports. As a general rule, I don't like to see guys remain small, and I certainly as hell don't like to see kids abused by their coaches with assignment to lighter weight classes than they should be in. If an adult wants to stay in a lighter class, fine with me, if it's for the right reasons. Staying artificially light so that you don't get beaten in a heavier class is not the right reason, because you don't know until you've been there that you wouldn't do better at a heavier bodyweight.

  3. #3
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    One of the most interesting stories to watch is Anthony Johnson in the UFC. Talent coming out his ears but insisted on fighting at 170 lbs and had kind of a mediocre initial run in the UFC. Its rumored he was cutting up to 35 lbs in the final day or so. Now he is back in the UFC in his second stint as a LHW. Still cutting weight to make 205 but appears to be just as quick and fast as before.

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    One factor that has to be considered is height. If you were 5'5 for example, you may be okay to compete in powerlifting as a heavyweight. If you were 5'5 and wanted to box however, you would most likely not even consider competing at heavyweight. Not just because you would be fat and probably slower/less conditioned than you would be at a lighter weight, but also because you would be fighting opponents much taller than yourself. There hasn't been a heavyweight champion in modern boxing shorter than 5'11.

    You have to take into account height/frame/wingspan etc, experience, how weight affects conditioning/speed/technique etc. It would be foolish to suggest trying NOT to put on muscle however, as with everything else being equal, I'm sure you'd want to have an extra few lbs of muscle over and extra few lbs of fat.

  5. #5
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    It also depends a lot on how you are fighting and under what ruleset. In amateur boxing for example, each hit is worth one point regardless of the power behind it, while in professional boxing each round is also scored based of damage done, aggressiveness etc and not just the individual hits. In amateur boxing it is almost always better to be the taller, lankier guy. Amateur boxing is also only three rounds with 3 minutes each, and you wear a helmet, so knockouts are not as common as in professional boxing meaning points are more important since it usually goes to a decision.

    Usually the same applies to professional boxing also, I know Mike Tyson was 5'10 but there are a lot more lennox lewis and klitschkos than there ever were short guys.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Baker (KSC) View Post
    One of the most interesting stories to watch is Anthony Johnson in the UFC. Talent coming out his ears but insisted on fighting at 170 lbs and had kind of a mediocre initial run in the UFC. Its rumored he was cutting up to 35 lbs in the final day or so. Now he is back in the UFC in his second stint as a LHW. Still cutting weight to make 205 but appears to be just as quick and fast as before.
    That fight was amazing son! He's probably kicking himself that he tried to fight 170.

    I have a theory about this. Say if a guy trains to a 500lb squat and puts on 50lbs of muscle to weigh 250lbs. Then does full time MMA training and loses weight to 205lbs over a period of six months or so with only sporadic heavy weight training. Surely the muscle memory (or whatever Rip wrote about this in the book- I forget off the top of my head) Would come into play? Said fighter would still retain much of the strength he developed while also being in peak cardiovascular condition to fight for 25 minutes.

  7. #7
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    Right. But I'm thinking 225 instead of 205.

  8. #8
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    Yes one of the main things I took from the book... Strength is the more permanent adaptation. Important fact.

  9. #9
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    Just one more question - for a Heavyweight (206 - 265 lbs) who don't usually have to cut weight, would 15% BF be ok for optimal performance?

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    starting strength coach development program
    That's okay with me.

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