Let's face it, when it comes to combat sports, the big guys rule. Sure, occasionally a truly superb smaller fighter will pound his way into the public consciousness (see one Manny Pacquiao) but their journey out of obscurity is infinitely more difficult. It takes years of consistent excellence and dominance to become water-cooler talk, while someone like Mike Tyson can become a bonafide superstar after only a few fights. Regardless of how many middleweights Anderson Silva KO's in one punch, Brock Lesner will always be the better known fighter. And, as a result, the bigger fighters will always draw bigger crowds.
This is a shame, because lighter fighters can deliver the kind of fighter that the Bob Sapps' of the world can only dream of. There is a reason featherweight Jose Aldo is one of the fastest rising stars in the sport.
Smaller fighters are faster and tend to have better cardio, since they have less body to move around. The result is often a long, frenetic fight with both sides going 100% straight until the final bell. Then the audience watches the slow-mo replay to figure out what was actually happening during the blur of flying fists they just witnessed.
On Wednesday, July 14, the Alaska Fighting Championship will crown the first 135 lb MMA champion in the state's history. Any true fight fan would be a fool to miss it.
Meeting will be Terrence Mitchell, who fights like an eggbeater from Hell, and Jesse 'The Puerto Rican Game Cock' Cruz, who fights like his namesake. Mitchell has three exciting fights on his resume. Cruz won a fight-of-the-year contender to earn his spot on the card. Both fighters have promised a war of attrition.
Let's use our imaginations for a second and pretend they were both heavyweights. Their 'war of attrition' would consist of a few minutes of incredibly powerful strikes, but if neither got knocked out that excitement would be followed by several minutes of deep breathing and four rounds of them laying on top of each other. Anyone who watched season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter has seen how exclusively having giants brawl plays out. Even those big men who know how to pace themselves slow down the fight out of necessity.
However, when the fighters are paper-thin and lighter than air, their fifth round looks like their first: limbs flashing by at breakneck speed as both fighters go for broke. The bottom line it, because they are smaller they have both more stamina and less knock-out power, meaning we fans get more fight for our money.
No matter who get's their hand raised and that belt wrapped around their waist (after which it will probably fall right around their ankles), the real winner on July 14th will be the fans their to see it.