The Weight Cutting Chronicles – UFC 240: Cris Cyborg and the Headliners

Max Holloway UFC 240
Max Holloway Credit: Dave Mandel/

Three of the fighters that received top billing at UFC 240 have fought in multiple weight-classes in their career.

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.

Max “Blessed” Holloway (20-4 MMA, 16-4 UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs.): 15-3 (UFC), Featherweight Champion (two successful title defenses)

Lightweight (155lbs.): 0-1 (UFC), Interim Lightweight Title Challenger

Max Holloway is an absolute beast at 145 pounds. Holloway has not lost at the weight class in a very long time and has beaten one of the best featherweights ever, Jose Aldo, twice in very convincing fashion. However, in Max’s last bout, he attempted to capture a second belt in the lightweight division, to try to become a simultaneous two-division UFC champion. In an epic five-round fight in what would prove to be Dustin Poirier’s coming out party, Holloway fought very hard. But at lightweight, Max’s punches just didn’t seem to sting like they did at featherweight. Max is a volume fighter, but there was no way he could get enough volume on Dustin to hurt him because of how much physically larger the Louisiana native is in size. When Dustin and Max first fought in 2012, Dustin was also a featherweight, difference is he could never make that cut now and fight the next day. This really showed in the fight and it seemed like every shot that Poirier through cut, damaged, or hurt Max in some way. Max took the loss like a true champion and now is moving back down to defend his belt at featherweight. Max cuts a lot of weight to get down to featherweight, and is still just 27-years-old, this was one of the reasons why he gave lightweight a shot in the first place.

Side note: Alex Volkanovski is on hand to weigh-in as a back-up for the main event.

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (23-6-1 MMA, 18-6-1 UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs.): 8-3 (UFC), only loss by finish in entire career

Lightweight (155lbs.): 10-3-1 (UFC), Former Lightweight Champion (three successful title defenses)

Frankie Edgar is the epitome of fighting at the highest level for a very long time. Edgar has been in the UFC fighting for titles as long as most veteran fans can remember. And originally, “The Answer” was not at the featherweight weight class that he was at now, but instead, 10-pounds heavier at lightweight. Edgar represents a time where guys weren’t massive and huge physical specimens, at just 5’6″ and with a 72″ reach, Edgar is considered undersized for both lightweight and arguably featherweight in the UFC’s current climate. But despite this and over six hours of Octagon time, Frankie has only been stopped once in his storied career. Frankie entered the UFC in the lightweight division back at UFC 67 in 2007. Edgar beat BJ Penn to win the lightweight title back in 2010 and successfully defended it three times, completing his spectacular trilogy with Gray Maynard.

After a pair of losses to Benson Henderson in 2012, Frankie moved down to featherweight in 2013 to challenge Jose Aldo for the belt. Even though “The Answer” lost this bout he would bounce back winning five in a row to again challenge Aldo for the featherweight belt at UFC 200, three years later, but ultimately the result was the same. Frankie has looked impressive as of late, with the exception of his brutal KO loss to Brian Ortega last March. Edgar

Cris Cyborg (20-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs.): 4-1 (UFC), Former Women’s Featherweight Champion (two successful title defenses)

Catchweight (140lbs.): 2-0 (UFC)

Cris Cyborg is still one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. Even after Cris was stopped in the very first round by double champ Amanda Nunes in the last card of 2018, many fans and fighters still consider her to be the woman to beat at 145lbs. When Cyborg first entered the Octagon she was by far the biggest woman with the organization. The women’s featherweight division had yet to be formed so she had to fight her first couple of bouts at a special catchweight. Its been incredibly well documented that Cyborg had been brought into the promotion to fight Ronda Rousey, one of the biggest fighters in the sport at the time. But Cyborg was way too big to ever safely make it to the bantamweight limit, much less fight the very next day. The Rousey and Cyborg fight would never come to be but Cyborg still cut a tremendous amount of weight for special catchweight bouts with a couple of opponents where she showed of her scary striking power, brutalizing her smaller opponents. When the promotion introduced the featherweight class for women, Cyborg was so intimidating the inaugural women’s featherweight champion, Germaine de Randiame, flat out refused to fight the Brazilian and relinquished her title. Cris won the vacant title in 2017 with a decisive three-round beating of the valiant Tonya Evinger. Cyborg terrorized the featherweight division until Amanda Nunes came up from bantamweight and shocked the world, knocking her out in the very first round of their bout at the end of 2018. Now with the end of her UFC contract looming, Cyborg is taking on a relative newcomer in Felicia Spencer, a former Invicta FC featherweight champion in a title eliminator in the most shallow division in the sport.