Is it time for a 195 lb. division in the UFC?
The UFC has continually added divisions over the last few years. With the merger of the WEC featherweights and bantamweights were added. Later flyweights and a women’s bantamweight division was added. Talks about more women’s divisions and even a men’s 115 lb. division, but is a cruiser weight, or 195 lb. division a better idea? BloodyElbow’s Rick Tim Burke recently posed the question:
Here’s a wild thought though – instead of trying to corner the market share on another division that’s going to struggle for a long time to gain a big fanbase, why not finally pull the trigger on a division that’s been on the minds of fans for years? A division where there’s already a ton of marketable talent? A division where a title belt would be an automatic draw on pay-per-view? Yes, I’m talking about the mythical 195-pound weight class. Or Franklinweight, if you will.
There would be a price to pay, of course. A 195-pound division would definitely siphon some talent from 185 and 205. Despite LHW being a division that draws very well, it’s somewhat shallow. The UFC only has 34 fighters under contract at light heavyweight right now, less than half the number of welterweights they currently have (76). Middleweight could take the hit better because there are currently 62 guys under contract. But there would be growing pains, and elite big men don’t grow on trees.
With that being said, the addition of a new title belt to prop up PPV’s with (one that actually draws, unlike 125/135 or even 145) would be a huge benefit. It’s certainly more rich in talent than a women’s 145-lb division, or a 115-lb division. The roster wouldn’t need to be expanded much for 195 to work. There’s nothing to build because the fighters there are already built. You just throw in a belt, and have a four-man tournament similar to flyweight. An eight-man tournament would be even better and fans would be all over it, but White is notorious for his resistance to tourneys.