Imagine, if you will, a state champion and college wrestler who never had to cut weight. Once you wrap your head around that idea, you know Gian Villante.
Villante, who wrestled for MacArthur High School and Hofstra University earlier this century, said he never had to cut weight back then.
“When I was a 215-pounder, I was never more than 208, I think,” Villante said. “When I was wrestling, I would come onto the bus with a box of pizza. Now all my buddies, they see me cutting weight and they’re rubbing it in.”
Pretty crazy notion, especially for those who know or understand the weight game wrestlers and fighters play.
At 24, a few years removed from college wrestling, the Levittown-based Villante is finally losing weight. Seems he’s not satisfied with just being the heavyweight champion of Ring of Combat. Now he wants the light heavyweight title, too.
Villante (6-0) fights Demetrius Richards (4-1) at Ring of Combat XXIX this Friday at The Tropicana in Atlantic City.
“This was definitely a goal of mine from the time I stepped in the ring with Ring of Combat, to win both the heavyweight and light heavyweight title,” said Villante (above, right).
The drop to light heavyweight is a smart career move for Villante. He walks around at 225-230 pounds, which has become far too small to compete at heavyweight in top promotions. The Brock Lesnars and Shane Carwins of the world weigh-in at 265 the day before fights, which means they’re around 275-280 on actual fight night. Not exactly a fair fight for the smaller-framed Villante.
Of course, no one is talking about putting Villante in that type of fight just yet. But as he continues to grow and develop in the sport of mixed martial arts, his greatest success will come at 205 pounds.
The 20-pound cut has forced Villante to train harder in the seven weeks since his last bout, a 40-second submission victory for the heavyweight title. Villante has increased his cardio training, resulting in increased wind and stamina, among other things.
“My hands feel quicker,” Villante said. “And I don’t feel any weaker, I’ll tell you that.”