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Frank Mir Moving Down? Maybe MMA Needs Cruiserweight Division



I'm not in favor of adding more weight classes to mixed martial arts because I don't like what excessive weight classes have done to boxing, where the product has become diluted as the number of weight classes has increased. But there are undoubtedly some MMA fighters who would benefit from adding a cruiserweight class between light heavyweight (205 pounds) and heavyweight (265).

Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir is one of those fighters, and although he's not overtly advocating the addition of a cruiserweight class, he makes a good case for it when he talks about the possibility of moving all the way down to light heavyweight.

"I've actually been toying with the idea of going down a weight class," Mir said in an interview with MMAFigs.com. "Since I don't have a fight for a couple months I've just been watching what I eat and seeing how my body, without trying to put size on, what my natural weight will fall at now. I have lifted a lot to add size. I'm kind of curious to see where I would fall at, just because of some of the guys who I train with who are light heavyweights, their bone structures -- sometimes I stand next to Forrest (Griffin) and think, Maybe I'm in the wrong weight class."

Mir weighed 253 pounds when he beat Tim Sylvia to win the UFC heavyweight title in 2004 and weighed 251 when he beat Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to win the interim title at UFC 92. That's the range where he's at his best. But after Brock Lesnar whipped him at UFC 100, Mir decided that he needed to pack on muscle mass, and he got himself up to the heavyweight limit of 265. And then when all that extra muscle mass wasn't enough for Mir to beat Shane Carwin, it has him thinking about dropping all the way down to 205.

At 205 pounds, Mir would be emaciated. He's just not a 205-pound man, and I think it's a very bad idea for him to try to make light heavyweight. But I get why he's frustrated, having been overpowered by the bigger, stronger Lesnar and Carwin.

That's the argument for a cruiserweight class: Have a weight class with a limit of 235, and guys like Mir will be right at home. So will guys like Mirko Cro Cop, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Cheick Kongo and other heavyweights who would have a huge size disadvantage against the Lesnars and Carwins of the world but would have a huge struggle to get down to 205. It's certainly a valid argument.

I still resist adding weight classes because I hate the idea of MMA's weight classes starting to resemble those of boxing. But when I think about the kinds of fights we might see in the cruiserweight division, I start to wonder whether my resistance is futile, and whether it's just a matter of time before MMA adds a cruiserweight class.