Last year the Association of Boxing Commissions passed a 10 point plan to controlling weight cutting including adding four new weight classes towards the middle and upper range of weight classes in MMA.
The new weight classes are geared towards making it easier for fighters to make weight and make lower risks along with the other rules in the 10 point plan that are going into affect. The UFC has pledged to start instituting a few of the new weight classes late this year and early next year.
This maybe partially motivated by the need for more headliners and wanting to reduce the use of interim titles to try and make a case for a pay-per-view headliner.
Here are the new weight classes and how current fighters can fit into the new weights:
Super lightweight is at 165 pounds and bridges the 15 pound gap between lightweight and welterweight.
For those who remember, defunct promotion Elite XC had a similar weight class except it was called lightweight and sat at 160 pounds. Nick Diaz actually fought for the divisional title against KJ Noons.
This is the perfect weight class for heavier lightweights like Michael Chiesa who recently missed weight for his fight against Anthony Pettis and as a result was fined as per regulations.
Kevin Lee, who also recently missed weight, has actively been campaigning for this weight class to be instituted on social media.
Also of note is that former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre has been considering a move to lightweight, however this way he wouldn’t have to cut too far past his native welterweight.
The super welterweight division sits at 175 pounds and again is meant to bridge the 15 pound gap between welterweight and middleweight.
There as several fighters like Johny Hendricks who could actively benefit from this weight class but the one candidate who sticks out the most is middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum.
Though he is lined up to coach the next season of The Ultimate Figher and challenge Robert Whittaker for the UFC Middleweight Championship afterwards, Gastelum could make a run at this weight class which sits just above the division he missed weight several times for should he come up short against Whittaker.
Super middleweight is a funny division considering the fact that about five years ago the UFC flirted with an 195 pound division with several catchweight fights at the same weight.
Fighters to compete in those experiments included the now retired Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin and now in Bellator Wanderlei Silva.
One fighter who just missed weight and could benefit the most from not having to move 20 pounds to light heavyweight is former middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero.
While he maybe old for any athlete, Romero demonstrated in his last outing in which he missed weight, that he can still hang and having ten less pounds to cut could benefit him significantly.
At 225 pounds in-between light heavyweight and heavyweight, there are so many fighters who could benefit in both the UFC and Bellator from the creation of such a division.
A short list includes current champion in both UFC divisions Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic, Cain Velasquez, Alistair Overeem (who fought in Pride at the 204 pound weight class), Quinton Jackson, Fedor Emlianenko, Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic, Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos, Blagoy Ivanov and Alexander Volkov just to name a few.
Obviously the UFC, Bellator and all other stateside promotion will have to decide how to utilize the new weight classes.
The King of the Cage promotion has already stated using all four weight divisions alongside the already established weight classes.
Only time will tell how the landscape of MMA is really affected by the new weight classes.