UFC Newark doesn’t have a ton of weight cutting questions, but the practice will always be under the microscope.
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.
Robbie “Ruthless” Lawler (28-13 MMA, 13-7 UFC)
Welterweight (170lbs.): 13-6(UFC), Former UFC Welterweight Champion (successfully defended 2 times.)
Middleweight (185lbs.): 0-1(UFC), 3-4(Strikeforce)
Ruthless Robbie Lawler has been in the UFC for a long time but for how long might actually surprise you. Lawler made his UFC debut back in 2002 at UFC 37! Lawler was at welterweight back then too. Ruthless fought seven times in the UFC during this stint, with his last time being his only middleweight fight with the promotion. After this Lawler fought in Pride, IFC and had an eight fight stint with the Strikeforce promotion. Lawler struggled against amazing talent in Strikeforce’s middleweight division winning only three fights with the promotion. Lawler even fought as heavy as 195lbs with Strikeforce in a catch weight bout.
When Lawler returned to the UFC in 2013 he looked like an absolute world-beater, a real savage with incredible grit and willpower. Save for one loss, Lawler essentially walked through the division and took the UFC welterweight belt without a hitch. Lawler has since loss his belt to Tyron Woodley, but he is still one of the scariest men in the entire sport and more than capable of putting on spectacular fights and wrecking opponents faces. Robbie’s optimal weight class is definitely 170lbs and for proof of that you dont have to look any farther than his second stint with the UFC, especially the Rory McDonald fight.
Darko Stosic (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
Light heavyweight (205lbs.): 1-1(UFC)
Heavyweight (265lbs.): All bouts, except 1, before entering UFC were at this weight
At 6 feet tall and possessing a 76″ reach it isn’t hard to understand why Darko elected to move down to 205lbs from the heavyweight division when making the move to the UFC. Stepping up to one of the most elite MMA promotions on the planet means heavyweight is a bit too much of a challenge for a tweener like Stosic who usually weighted in at 220-230lbs at heavyweight. Especially with the relatively wide open light heavyweight division with fighters like Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith able to reach title shots relatively quickly. Darko suffered a unanimous decision loss to Devin Clark in his last fight back in June. It will be interesting to see if the weight cut affects his success moving forward in the UFC’s light heavyweight division especially in fights that go the distance.
Matt “Danger” Schnell (13-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Flyweight (125lbs.): 2-1(UFC)
Bantamweight (135lbs.): 1-1(UFC), The Ultimate Fighter Season 24 Participant
Matt has bounced around between the 135lb and 125lb weight class a lot. The flyweight weight class’s future was in jeopardy for a little while before the UFC boss, Dana White, announced that the weight class was indeed staying. Now, Schnell can go back down to his natural fight weight, where he feels comfortable and looks healthy at. In Schnell’s last bout, he fought Louis Smolka in the bantamweight division and defeated him by triangle choke in the very first round. This bout took place earlier in March of this year. At 5’8″ and a 72.5″ reach, Schnell is a real anomaly in the 125lbs. division. There is huge potential for the 29 year old to make a run at the upper ranks of the very shallow flyweight division.