The Weight Cutting Chronicles – UFC 237: Moving Down Two Weight Classes

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Jared Cannonier UFC 230 UFC 237
Credit: Jason Burgos/Sherdog.com

UFC 237 features several fighters on the main card who have moved down multiple weight classes in their careers.

Like it or not, weight-cutting is deeply rooted in mixed martial arts. MMA adopted its weight-cutting from the sport of wrestling, where it is presumed to be very advantageous to be the biggest and strongest in your weight class. Known as the ‘fight before the fight,’ most UFC fighters cut anywhere from 5-25 pounds, with some fighters even in excess of 30 pounds.

Weight-cutting is the ultimate test of discipline and willpower. Many fighters in the sport consider it very unprofessional to miss weight. In this series, we will shine a light on fighters who cut a massive amount of weight, who have missed weight multiple times in the past, who have made weight-class changes, along with how the weight-cut and weigh-in could affect possible upcoming match-ups. Basically, every aspect of weight-cutting and how it affects the fight game in the UFC.

Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (19-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC)

Jessica Andrade is a very scary woman in the strawweight division. Jessica is built like a tank, and is very short, standing at 5’2″ and possessing a 62″ reach. A very stocky woman, and it is illustrated in the amount of power that Jessica carries in her hands. This is power is multiplied especially when Andrade is fighting straw weight opponents. Even though Andrade carries a lot of muscle she still cuts a lot of weight. When Andrade entered the UFC in 2013 against Liz Carmouche she did so at 135-pounds, granted that was a much different time for women’s mixed martial arts, especially within the UFC. Jessica had a total of seven fights in the women’s bantamweight division before deciding to move down. Andrade amassed three losses during these seven fights at bantamweight in the UFC and that obviously signaled a need for a change for the Brazilian. After losing to Raquel Pennington in 2015, Jessica took about a year off in the meantime working on her ground game, through entering grappling tournaments as well as whittling down her weight. When Andrade reappeared in the UFC in late 2016, this time it was at the lightest weight class of 115-pound. Jessica won three in a row and got her chance at the, at that time, seemingly unbeatable UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Jessica made it a great show but ultimately was outclassed by the champ and lost a unanimous decision.  Jessica came back stronger than ever and over the course of the last year and a half has racked up a three-fight win streak against high-ranked opponents in Claudia Gadelha, Tecia Torres, and most recently Karolina Kowalkiewicz, dominating all three.

Jared “Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (11-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC)

Jared Cannonier has had quite the journey in terms of weight classes in the UFC. The 35-year-old is 5’11” and possesses a 77.5″ reach, he is a very thick, stocky guy. Jared is currently fighting at 185-pounds, but has fought at 205-pounds, and actually entered the UFC in the heavyweight division. When Jared debuted in the UFC in early 2015 he fought at 235-pounds, and was finished in the first round by Shawn Jordan, earning the first loss of his professional mixed martial arts career. After taking more than a year off he returned to the UFC, where he fought at 241-pounds and earned his first Octagon win by TKO in the very first round. After this fight, Cannonier moved down to light heavyweight and faced extremely tough competition such as Ion Cutelaba, Glover Teixeira, Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes. In total, Jared went 2-3 in the UFC’s light heavyweight division and after being stopped in the first round by Reyes in May of last year, he decided it was time to move down in weight again, this time to the middleweight division of 185-pounds. In Jared’s first fight at middleweight, he dispatched David Branch with punches in the second round at UFC 230. Jared’s physique for this fight was spectacular and he looked ripped especially compared to the physique he had when he first graced the UFC. Now Jared is facing one of the greatest middleweights of all time on his home turf.

Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski (19-1 MMA, UFC)

Alexander Volkanovski is on an incredibly impressive 16-fight win streak. The Australian stands at 5’6″ and possesses a 71.5″ reach. The Great is incredibly stocky and at one time the now 145-pound fighter was on the north side of 200-pounds while playing high-level rugby. Alexander has fought at multiple weight classes during his time as a professional martial arts fighter. Volkanovski has fought at welterweight, lightweight and is most known for gracing the weight class of featherweight. Most recently though (2016), “The Great” fought in the lightweight division for his UFC debut but ever since then he has been at featherweight. Alexander missed weight for his second UFC featherweight fight against Shane Young in late 2017. Alexander weighed in at 149-pounds for this fight. Featherweight is obviously quite the cut for “The Great” but he has been performing exceptionally with his last two wins against Darren Elkins as well as a second-round stoppage win against Chad Mendes, retiring the fan-favorite UFC veteran. Now Alexander faces off against one of the greatest featherweights of all time on his home soil.

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