T Nation

Strength in Weight Classes


I know it has been discussed but, I was wondering if strength had a greater/different advantage in lower weight classes (MMA).

There is a guy at my brothers gym that power lifts in the 148 LB class and recently started MMA. From the fights I have seen him in he just man handles the other fighters. His fights skills seem sub-par but, his strength and conditioning is incredible.

I should mention that he is almost 5'10 so, he is at a minimum 3 inches taller than most other what I assume are feather weights.


I suspect it has less to do with weight class and more to do with level of competition. Your brother’s training partner is getting by on superior physicality and low level skills because he is fighting low skill level fighters. Put him in against some top level 145 lb’ers and his physicality would not make up for his lack of skill.

The Heavyweight division is actually the weight class this has been most historically true for, as HW’s often got/get by via their superior size and strength and as a result many don’t/didn’t actually develop their skill to the same level as the smaller guys/gals.


I noticed something like this back in my high school wrestling days.

In the finals, at tournaments wrestlers in the middle classes (138, 145, 152) tended to be sort of “average” in height and strength, but very skilled at wrestling.

At the very low end (105-112) and the very high end (189-220) you’d start to see more “extreme” heights or strength, or weird combinations. The 4ft 11in 105 pounder who manhandles everyone, or the 6’4" HW who is just way more athletic than the other heavy weights. These guys were still skilled, but their body type, or better than average strength kinda over whelmed their opponents.

And at the extreme ends, the exhibition weight classes (98 or 265+) you could almost tell who was gonna be best by looking at the weigh-ins. The best guys at the extreme limits were just way too much physically for anyone else to handle, regardless of their skill. They stuck out from everyone else in their weight class because of the extreme height, or really strong looking build.

Anyway, sort answer, yes. I think that above average strength or height or speed, or any other skill is more of an advantage at the lowest, or the heaviest weights than in the middle weights.


anything exceptional above average is always going to be an advantage, whether it’s strength, speed, skill or the new left hander in a class that never had one. Specially in sports, where you train your mind and body on what to expect. You’ll often see exceptional group of athletes come from an area, mainly because they’ve trained each other on higher level.