Anthony Johnson's Days as a Welterweight Should Be Over

Tim BockContributor INovember 23, 2009

According to Steve Cofield at cagewriter , some reports indicate that UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson collapsed just prior to the weigh-ins for UFC 106.

This comes after a horrendous and dangerous attempt at cutting weight for his contest with Yoshihiro Yoshida at UFC 104. Reports prior to that weigh-in said that Johnson was being carried through downtown L.A. because he was too weak to walk.

Prior to that fight, Johnson claimed that a knee injury caused him to balloon in weight even higher than he normally gets in between fights and that caused the problem. He ended up weighing in at 176 pounds for the 171 pound limit.

Johnson showed up at that weigh in looking very weak but ended up beating Yoshida in under a minute. Johnson vowed that he would change his diet and lifestyle, and that his weight cutting experience for that fight would "change his life."

However, if the reports are accurate about Johnson collapsing prior to the weigh-ins for UFC 106, things haven’t changed that much. I’m well aware that many fighters cut large amounts of weight for their fights.

Forrest Griffin reportedly walks around at about 235 pounds and cuts to the 205 limit.

Anderson Silva walks around at around 215 pounds and cuts to 185 for his fights.

Even Brock Lesnar has to cut a significant part of weight to make the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds.

Cutting weight is a part of life for MMA fighters, I understand that. Typically guys cut to one weight class below what their normal walking around weight is.

For example, George St. Pierre walks around at about 185 pounds before he begins training, and then he cuts to 170 for his fight. That gives him a size advantage over many smaller welterweights. However, the weight cut is not dangerous, and he’s able to maintain his strength and cardio throughout the fight.

What Johnson tries to do before every fight, however, defies logic. Reports indicate that Johnson typically walks around in the 210-215 pound range when he’s not training. He did note that he was over 220 pounds before he started training for the Yoshida fight at UFC 104. That was 50 pounds worth of weight he needed to cut to make the welterweight limit. A cut that large is insane and unhealthy.

His performance suffers because of the huge weight cut as well. He was visibly gassed late in the second round against Josh Koscheck at UFC 106 on Saturday. The weight cut sapped him of his conditioning and strength as the fight went on.

I realize that Johnson believes that he has a better chance at contending for a welterweight championship than he does in the middleweight division. However, if he cuts from 215 or 220 to the 185 pound middleweight limit, he’ll still be bigger than most of the guys in the division.

His conditioning will improve, and his stamina in later rounds would benefit. He’s clearly outgrown the welterweight division. It’s time that he started taking his long-term health into consideration before he attempts another 50 pound weight cut.