What’s better than arriving as an underdog to win a UFC championship in dominant fashion? According to Rafael dos Anjos, doing it without having to undergo a week of absolute misery, first:
Part of the Brazilian’s plan of proving that he’s one of the best in the world, pound-for-pound, includes jumping up in weight classes. The fighter said that, though he has to make 155 pounds the day before his lightweight fights, he walks around during his every day life at around 195 pounds.
Now that is brutal. To put things in perspective, Chris Weidman only weighs thirty pounds over the middleweight limit at his largest, while Jon Jones has been known to clock in at twenty-five over light heavyweight, which means they’re losing 16% and 12% of their body mass respectively, a far cry from dos Anjos’s 26%.
Fighters who move up often make the case that there is simply no more worthwhile competition in their own weight class, as BJ Penn was known to do, and which paradoxically both Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor have suggested as of late. But while some might scoff at the notion of losing a potential advantage in exchange for an easier fight week, examples abound of athletes who moved up in weight and went on to hold their own, from Anthony “Rumble” Johnson to Benson Henderson’s recent welterweight debut.
Still, Penn remains the only UFC fighter to ever move up a class and win a second belt (since Randy Couture began his career as a heavyweight). Lets hope dos Anjos’s second run follows in his footsteps, and not, say, Chael Sonnen’s: