Size Does Matter.
Sorry little people. In an ideal world it wouldn’t. But we do not live in fantasy land. If you asked me who would I rather fight, Demetrius “Mighty Mouse” Johnson or Jon Jones, I would pick Mighty Mouse 100% of the time.
When all other things are equal (technique, toughness, stamina, etc.) the stronger person will have the advantage. Now it’s true that usually isn’t the case, as bigger people tend to have poorer stamina, less speed, and to a certain extent inferior technique. However, when we are dealing with world class athletes, those things are worked on and fixed.
If it didn’t matter, we wouldn’t have weight classes. But it does – BIG time. 🙂
So if you are a 125lber and think you can win an absolute division in combat sports, you are in for a rude awakening. The ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships is arguably the most prestigious grappling tournament in the world. They have had 12 World Championships from 1998 to 2017, each with an Absolute division. Not a single person has won that was a light weight, the vast majority are heavy weights. The lightest weight that has won was 87.9kg (Claudio Calasans, Andre Galvao, Braulio Estima). That should tell you something…
For me, 87.9kg (193.5lbs) is the optimal weight for a man to be able to compete against any sized person. You have enough strength to fair well against a bigger man, but the benefits of better stamina (due in part to less muscle mass), less injury (not as much strain on joints), and speed. This doesn’t mean you have the advantage, as history has shown heavy weights win it more, but you have a chance.
So if you weigh less than 193.5lbs, does that mean you shouldn’t bother training?
Of course not! Just know that to win absolute divisions is going to be much tougher, but there is no reason why you can’t wreck people your size. I say this because some people get “tricked” into thinking that all you need is technique and you can beat anyone, regardless of size. That just isn’t true.
You should also take this into account when training. If you are rolling with big monsters all the time as a smaller person, you are increasing the likelihood of injury. One of my fighters in Miami is named Lokolo. He is 350lbs, 6’4″. It doesn’t matter if he wants to roll “light” – it is physically impossible, lol! Every time I would roll with him I would have aches and pains. Keep in mind I was around 200lbs at the time, so not exactly a light weight. I would not be able to train with him daily without some unnatural supplementation, lol.
While that is a drastic example, if you are 140lbs training with a 190lber, that is really tough on your body. You definitely should train with bigger people every so often, but most of your training should be within your weight class. I think a lot of people get hurt in training because they are fighting above their weight class to often.
Unfortunately, most big guys don’t understand the weight advantage. They will call you out and your pride prevents you from refusing. Then you get squeezed and wish you hadn’t, lol!
So what if you are the smaller person, how do you beat the big monster?
Use the advantages of being smaller:
I have been fortunate to play “David” to many a Goliath and come out on top (Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Xande Ribeiro, and Roy “Big Country” Nelson to name a few). I beat them all with similar strategies. I use my stamina edge and push a hard pace. I use my speed and technique to work passing and take downs. And whenever possible, I look to be on top.
I am in the 87.9kg range, so I can still wrestle with the big boys. But if you were 125lbs, chances are you would have a much, much harder time. You might have to concede bottom position and work sweeps and reversals on your back. The key is to not let a big guy rest on top of you, because that will kill your stamina advantage. Easier said then done.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?
Comment with your take on this. And if you like this article, please do me a solid and share it with your friends. Thanks!