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Moving Up In Weight: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly

The Bad

Nate Diaz

After losing to Gray Maynard in 2010, the younger 209 representative decided to follow in his brothers footsteps and make a run at welterweight. His decision resulted in wins over Rory Markham and Marcus Davis. One has not been heard from since, and the other we wish could have disappeared with dignity. The Stockton native followed up that pair of wins with back-to-back decision losses to Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald. Diaz showed that he was clearly outmatched against the welterweight elite, and smartly chose to move back down to lightweight. Since then, he’s gone 3-0 against top names and will reportedly be getting a crack at the title in his next fight.

Rich Franklin

The beloved former teacher kicked off his UFC middleweight run with five consecutive victories, winning the belt, defending it twice, and beating guys like Jorge Rivera, Nate Quarry, and Evan Tanner (R.I.P.) along the way — until he met his match in The Spider. (If only he had tried a flying scissor heel-hook, it could be a far different story today) Franklin’s inability to best Anderson Silva forced him to move up in weight to 205 and 195, where he has faced big names, but hasn’t made any progress towards a title shot. Going 3-3, with losses to Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, and Forrest Griffin, Rich has decided to drop back to middleweight for his next fight against Cung Le. I for one hope he picks back up on the dominant path he was at in the middleweight division. You know, other than any time he fought Silva.

BJ Penn (2009-2011)

If there is one thing that has been consistent throughout BJ’s career, it’s his inconsistency. GSP beat the shit out of him, he managed to escape with a draw against Jon Fitch, and was nearly beaten out of the sport by Nick Diaz — hardly the triumphant return to welterweight that he was hoping for. At this point, he’ll have to ask himself if a return to the cage at 170 is worth the hematomas.

The Ugly

Anthony Johnson

(That’s Lorenzo Fertitta’s disappointed-flex.)

If you honestly thought we could go an entire article about weight-class changing and not mention “Rumble,” then shame on you for not paying attention over the years. It doesn’t matter if Johnson is cutting to a lighter weight, or making a debut at a heavier one, he will still find a way to fail miserably. So let’s talk about his UFC 142 bout with Vitor Belfort, shall we? It’s one thing to miss weight when you are cutting heavily for a fight, and quite another when you move up in weight and still miss the mark by 12 fucking pounds. Try as I might, I can’t come up with a single logical explanation for this sort of nonsense, other than maybe Burger King picked the wrong fighter to sponsor.

BJ Penn (2004-2005)

Damn you, BJ. I began writing this article with the intention of putting you on a pedestal in the “good” category. After re-watching some fights that my brain refused to acknowledge ever took place, I could not justifiably put you in any single category. Your welterweight run was clearly both good and bad, but my God, man…middleweight? Openweight? Seriously? Because of your brief Ronin-like period of fighting anybody at any weight class — which culminated in you ballooning up to 190 pounds and getting tossed around like a fat child by Lyoto Machida — I had to include you in the ugly as well.

Alright tater heads, who did I forget?

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  1. Yazloz18 Says:

    Tue, 05/22/12 - 01:00

    Maybe you can throw in Anderson Silva. Before he became the Matrix at 185, he started his career at WW and he is 2-0 at 205
  2. Pen Fifteen Says:

    Tue, 05/22/12 - 01:02

    Tim Sylvia's move up to super-heavyweight was pretty goddamned ugly.
  3. Pen Fifteen Says:

    Tue, 05/22/12 - 01:03

    And shit, what do I mean by was? Apparently it's still going on.
  4. bgoldstein Says:

    Tue, 05/22/12 - 01:06

    @Yazloz: True. It was also pretty entertaining when he went up to 205 to beat the tar out of James Irvin and Forrest Griffin.
  5. moomessa Says:

    Tue, 05/22/12 - 05:30

    "Insinuations aside"? Overeem jailed a drug test. There's no insinuating anything.
  6. Jew Jitsu Says:

    Tue, 05/22/12 - 05:46

    how about "dancin" dan henderson
  7. ghostboner Says:

    Tue, 05/22/12 - 09:53

    How about Kenny Florian's moves from porkweight on TUF to lightweight to corpseweight? Or Jon Jones' amusing run masquerading as a LHW?
  8. ghostboner Says:

    Tue, 05/22/12 - 09:54

    My bad, forgot what the title of the article was.
  9. Bandito Says:

    Wed, 05/23/12 - 06:21

    Damn, Dan Henderson doesn't even get a sidenote??! The man has fought... and been successful... at any/every weight from 185 to HW! C'mon, man.
  10. bobby Says:

    Mon, 07/08/13 - 12:58

    yeah but now Overeem looks like a freakish monster and just suspended for roids. Is that really worth it just to get a few extra wins?
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