According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Rich Franklin would be the best fighter in his weight class if only he could convince UFC president Dana White to add a 195-pound division.
"The former middleweight champion has, for all intents and purposes, outgrown the middleweight class, but he's too small to compete with elite light heavyweights," Yahoo! Sports writer Kevin Iole says.
Iole's assessment is right on the money, which led me to ask myself why the UFC wouldn't want to have a 195-pound division.
Don't Follow In The Footsteps Of Boxing
One thing the league wants to avoid is flooding the market with too many divisions, which is one of the reasons why boxing saw a steep decline in fan interest over the past decade.
No one knew who the "real" champions were because you had too many leagues, too many belts, too many different weight classes and too many divisions.
The UFC recently added a flyweight division, bringing the number of weight classes to eight. Eight different divisions may already be too many.
Here's what Rich Franklin said about the struggle to make weight at 185 pounds:
"Imagine a sponge that you wash dishes with sitting on your sink, and you take that sponge and you fill it with water to the point that the water is dripping out," Franklin said. "That's what your body is like on a normal basis. Now, when I'm cutting weight, at the middle of that week, it's like taking that sponge and wringing the water out as hard as I possibly could, trying to get every drop of water out. That's what my body is like at 190 pounds.
"Now, take that sponge that had the water wrung out of it and let it sit on the counter overnight. It would be dry and hard, like a brick. And that's what my body is like at 185 pounds. That's the difference. A lot of times, people say, 'I can't believe he only had a pound,' or 'I can't believe he couldn't lose two pounds.' But it's not the first two pounds that are the most difficult to lose. It's the last two, and sometimes the sponge is completely out of water and you can't get any more out no matter how hard you squeeze."
A "Franklinweight" Division
As Franklin alluded to, asking a fighter who typically walks around at 205 pounds to drop down to 185 is tough on the body.
Even if a fighter can do it, the end result may be a poor performance on fight night because dropping all that weight has a draining effect on the body.
More Title Fights
If the UFC added a 195-pound division, it would create more title fights. In turn, that would mean more money for the league. I believe fans are more likely to purchase PPV cards that have titles on the line. Take for instance UFC 100, which had a buyrate of 1.6 million because two titles were put on the line during the event.
With Anderson Silva ruling the 185-pound ranks and Jon Jones likely to clean out the 205-pounders in the years ahead, the current format may get stale with no new champions being crowned.
The 185-pound and 205-pound divisions are deeper than they've been in years, which means adding a 195-pound class wouldn't water down the talent pool to the point where each division would have problems sustaining high-quality fights.
It would also open up title shots for current contenders who can't get a sniff at the belt because Silva and Jones are so dominant. A 195-pound class would open up new opportunities for the Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping and Wanderlei Silvas of the world.
Should the UFC create a 195-pound division? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/mma--rich-franklin-ufc-147-rematch-wanderlei-silva-.html, Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Iole
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