In combat sports such as Judo, BJJ, Sambo, wrestling, mma etc. combat athletes come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are short and slim, some are short and stocky, some are tall and slim, some are tall and stocky and so on. Height and weight are two different measurements, height and weight do not always correlate with each other. Weight matters a lot more than height does, which is why there are weight classes but no height classes in combat sports. But even then, open weight divisions are a thing in many combat sports, which serve as a means for combat athletes to prove their true prowess. While size is a major factor in a fight, it doesn’t always guarantee the larger fighter a victory. With that being said, let’s talk about the tall heavyweights and the two dilemmas they face.
Dilemma 1, every Goliath eventually meets a David: The best tall heavyweight combat athletes will often find themselves dominating the competition, they’ll rack up consecutive wins and get a sense of “invulnerability”. But if these larger fighters stay in the sport long enough, they’ll eventually meet that one smaller fighter that will give them their first loss. It always happens to those large heavyweight fighters that go undefeated for a while but eventually fight a smaller and or shorter fighter that can hold their own against him or her and also topple the Goliath. During the early 2000s, a 6’6” nearly 200lb female undefeated boxer named Vonda Ward took on the 5’8” Ann Wolfe, which resulted in the shorter Ann Wolfe knocking out her taller opponent and thus breaking her undefeated streak.
And very recently, a Judoka by the name of Teddy Riner who is 6’8”, 280+ pounds and was undefeated for a decade had his had his undefeated streak broken by a smaller judoka named Kokoro Kageura who is 5’10 and 264 pounds.
Dilemma 2, there are always bigger and stronger opponents than you: One of the biggest mistakes a tall heavyweight can make is rely too much on his or her size. When you get too used to fighting smaller opponents, you’ll be caught off guard when you fight someone who is bigger and stronger than you. Even outside of combat sports, it can be major blow to this large individual’s ego to know there are bigger folks out there. It always happens to these 6’2” 245lb body builders who feel humbled when they encounter guys like Brian Shaw who is 6’8” and 400+ pounds of muscle. But in combat sports when you are so used to using your size to your advantage, you’ll get egg on your face when you fight that one opponent that looks at you like how you looked at your previous smaller opponents. It can be humbling and humiliating. This is one of the advantages of being a smaller combat athlete, you know you will usually if not always be the smaller fighter, so you learn to adapt and thrive in a environment where giants roam. A perfect example of a big fighter competing against an even bigger fighter was when when the 6’11” 290lb Semmy Schilt fought the 7’2” 350lb Choi Hong man and things didn’t go so well for Semmy Schilt.
Another example was when the 6’4” 254lb Rolles Gracie fought 6’1” 315lb Mariusz Pudzianowski and things didn’t go so well for Rolles who was knocked out with one punch only seconds into the first round by Pudzianowski.
I’m not trying to poke fun at tall heavyweights I’m just pointing out the obvious that simply being a big fighter in both height and weight doesn’t mean you are unstoppable for there are many smaller Davids who can topple you and much bigger and tougher competitors than yourself.
Most Helpful Opinions
No matter what size or shape you are, there are people bigger than you that you can whip and people smaller than you who can whip you.
Height and physique are just not good indicators of fighting skill, especially as you go higher and higher up the ranks in a combat sport. It makes more of a difference when two fighters are untrained, but even then, height and mass are no guarantee of victory.
it does make a big difference in the higher levels of a sport. weight more so than height, although height does usually come with a reach advantage. But weight difference is the real deal as a person who weighs more will have a big power advantage. That's why all professional organizations nowadays have weight divisions and they weigh the fighters before a fight.
@startingfitness At the highest levels, fighters are well trained at fighting with different styles and different strategies for different opponents, and so they have more options for dealing with heavier opponents that come in with a power advantage, they are very comfortable keeping a guy at distance and peppering him from the outside, wearing him down in the early rounds and using footwork to avoid his counters and countering his counters.
I mean yes, ostensibly more weight will give you a power advantage although not necessarily, but any advantage has the seeds of disadvantage within it if your opponent knows how to counter it.
Whereas at the lower levels and among untrained fighters, most people can only fight in their own instinctual way and if that isn't a good stylistic match-up for going against a stronger fighter, then he will most likely smash them.
I disagree. Do you honestly think McGregor, tony ferguson or khabib would stand a chance against francis ngannou?
All are pretty amazing fighters with different styles, but I don't think any of them stand a chance. No way they can keep him at a distance, maybe with a heavier slower guy, but not with a guy like him.
I think what you are describing would go more like Israel vs joel romero and I think that was honestly a bad, unreliable strategy.