WSOF's Lightweight Division is a throwback to a bygone era

Before guys like Benson Henderson started cutting 25+ lbs to make 155 the UFC was full of Lightweights like BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar who weren’t much bigger than Palomino. MMA Fighters like Luis Palomino and Justin Gaethje have no earthly business fighting someone like Cowboy Cerrone at 155 lbs. That would be an all too familiar exercise in futility. Like trying to chop down a red wood tree with a hatchet. Essentially if you’re under 5’ 10" you shouldn’t even consider fighting Donald Cerrone or James Vick for that matter. They'll both kick you repeatedly and laugh when and if you try to take them down. With a rare exception or two the only fights Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone has ever lost were against guys that are 5’ 10" and above. The fight with Nathan Diaz was particularly interesting because Donald couldn’t land head kicks whenever Diaz went for a single leg take down attempt. Even still, Cowboy still managed to spin him like a top and knock him off balance with leg kicks several times, which was impressive. Rafael Don Anjos is one of the only fighters under 5' 10" that Cerrone has ever lost to outside of maybe Benson Henderson back in the WEC. They list Edson Barbosa at 5"11 but he doesn’t fight "tall" like Nathan DIaz does. John Makdessi never stood a chance. How on earth was he supposed to get inside on Cerrone long enough to do any effective damage? It’s laughable. That man is as courageous as they come, a true warrior for even taking that fight. How Makdessi lasted 15 minutes without getting finished by Cerrone is truly amazing.

Essentially Justin Geathje is about the same size as the UFC's current Bantamweight Champion, TJ Dillashaw a.k.a. "Dilly" or "Killashaw". The man he beat twice to become and then remain Champion, Renan Barao is actually bigger than Luis Palomino who looks slightly larger than Demetrius Johnson, the current 125 lb Flyweight Champion. It's not as if Gaethje and Palomino don't need to cut weight to make the 155 lbs weight limit either. The WSOF commentators mentioned that Palomino weighed in the mid 160 lb range on fight night. TJ Dillashaw cuts about 25lbs to make 135 and he is far from the most egregious weight cutter in the UFC's Bantamweight division, or any division outside of Heavyweight, present day.

This season of The Ultimate Fighter should be particularly interesting because every season the competitors get bigger, stronger and generally even more physically imposing for their respective weight classes than their predecessors. Gone are the days where guys like Gabe Rudiger and Jason Guida come into the show woefully unprepared with 10-20% body fat or more. These guys are now as lean and ripped and in shape as any UFC fighter from day 1. The days where the winner of TUF immediately drops at least one weight class for his first post finale fight are also long gone. The fighters on this season of TUF are just enormous for their weight class. The modern UFC Lightweight will soon be 5’ 10 or taller. James Vick is something like 6’ 3" tall and his walking around weight is over 200 lbs. Vick is one of the few Lightweight fighters that doesn’t have to look up at Donald Cerrone.

This new IV ban will be interesting to say the least. I miss the days where BJ Penn could fight at 170 without people thinking he was committing both career and literal suicide. These days Dan Henderson would look like an average welterweight. Which goes to show how truly amazing that man really is because you'll never see "Hendo" fighting below 185 lbs. Very few fighters can say they spent their entire MMA career fighting at least one full weight class higher than they could or probably should have. Though people do like to forget Jake Shields defeated Dan Henderson and he recently finished Brian Foster in the very first round sending the resurgent Foster down to WSOF's lightweight division where he always belonged. Foster who submitted Matt "The Immortal Brown" before having brain surgery and then rupturing a testicle in training, leading to his outright release from the UFC a few years ago.