T Nation

Relative Strength/BW For MMA?


This is an idea I've been kicking around for about a while now and never got around to it for whatever reason, but here's the deal:

I'm a little over 6'4" barefooted, but I only weigh about 190 pounds usually and compete at 185. I'm pretty comfortable there, but I don't really even lift weights that seriously or anything. Obviously, I get outmuscled quite a bit on the mat, but not so much that it can't be overcome with a little more technique.

But, being as long and thin as I am, do you think I could be stronger compared to other folks at 205 than I would be at 185? Obviously they will be stronger, but will the extra mass on my spindly little frame more than make up for the difference if I were to start lifting harder? If nothing else I'm at least going to start carrying more weight between fights, maybe 195-200 or so.



I think I've decided just to carry more weight between fights (unless I get addicted to lifting/eating) but I'd still like to hear some thoughts on the subject. Maybe everyone is dumbfounded that I'm so skinny but I can still function lol


The problem you will run into is that as the level of your competition increases the gap in skill you might have will narrow, thus making strength the deciding factor again.

Having a huge reach advantage like you do can be great in a weight class like yours. Would you classify yourself as a striker? If not, then gaining weight would be to your advantage.



When i was wrestling in highschool there were many guys who were very skinny and some tall and skinny. One thing that i noticed was that when a wrestler is skinny and weaker they have to work more on technique. Then when they get bigger and stronger they tend to perform really well, because there technique has already been established.

I find that if u start wrestling at a larger size many times people will try to muscle everything. So i think you should put weight on, you might be suprised at how well you perform. Just try not to gain to much fat at the same time, but i am sure you already know this.


Here was my problem in moving up from featherweight to lightweight.

At featherweight, most of the guys are substantially shorter than me. They are also usually traditional martial artists (tae kwon do, karate, etc). This is just how it works out, these guys end up being the featherweights.
I was able to out reach the featherweights, and I was a much better wrestler than most at my weight...

However, at lightweight, most of the guys are better wrestlers, and I no longer have a reach advantage...

My point is try not to look at it so much from a strength stand point, the extra mass wont help you enough to make it a deciding factor. Look at it as a technique point.


At first I would say you are skinny, but I don't know how skillful you are. I am 175cm tall and walk around at 86kg. I remeber meeting Bustamante and the Nogueira brothers. Bustamante is skinny, he fights in the 83kg class(183lbs) and he is 188cm tall(6 feet 2). Big Nogueira was quite huge though. I know he is fighting in theOWGP around 109kg. I was a bit surprised that they were not very strong in the weight room though. Most members here would outlift them.


Thanks for the replies. I definitely feel more comfortable on the feet, whether I'm necessarily that much more skilled standing as opposed to on the ground is unclear but I feel better striking anyway. So the reach helps a lot, I like trading with someone and seeing their punches fall just short while I'm lighting them up. I play a lot from the bottom on the ground, but I'm getting more into sweeps and such lately and working on my top game.

For the level I'm at (amateur MMA) I am somewhat, but not incredibly skilled; I don't have a huge library of techniques so much as a handful of things that I can get to work for me a higher percentage of the time, so that's how I negate bigger/stronger guys. I'm much "stronger" on the mats than I would seem judging by my numbers in the weight room, but that's just because of technique and leverage.

However, a lot of times I do better, especially kickboxing and even moreso strictly boxing against bigger guys because I still have a bit of a reach advantage and I'm a lot faster. And I don't subscribe to the notion that getting bigger always makes you slower; it won't if you do it right.

I've got a fight in a few weeks so I can't drastically change my training right now, but I think when it's over I'll start seriously lifting and just see how it affects my weight/strength levels. I just like to talk things out in advance and have a plan for the future.

Thanks again.


If I were you, I would stay at that weight and drill takedown defense and footwork, and just pound everyone with the reach. Long limbs make you easier to submit on the ground, but if you learn how to keep the fight standing and really learn to use the reach to your advantage (footwork + jab = hell for a short guy), I think you could go far with that.


I agree with improving the striking, but not many people become great strikers picking it up late. Throwing jabs even against a short guy, if he can really box he will just throw right hand counters off your jabs. I think tall guys pulling guard are tough, long limbs just hard to get by(like Nogueira) for a short guy.