One of the biggest shows of the year was going down Saturday with UFC 241, so weight cutting was again under the microscope Friday.
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.
Daniel “DC” Cormier (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC)
Heavyweight (265lbs.): 4-0 (UFC) UFC Heavyweight Champion
Light heavyweight (205lbs.): 2-0 (UFC) Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
Daniel Cormier represents everything that one could hope to accomplish in the realm of pro mixed martial arts and combat sports. A United States Olympic level wrestler, A team captain, a fighter of the year recipient, a UFC lightweight and heavyweight champion, there is little left for DC to accomplish beyond a win at UFC 241. Daniel is a perfect fighter to completely illustrate just what cutting weight does to everyone. It diminishes the fighter, though DC looks great at light heavyweight and has practically breezed through every win except for Alexander Gustaffson and Jon Jones. Not to mention towel gate. DC had a tremendous amount of trouble cutting down to 205lbs his last few times in the weight class as was literally evident in his face during fight week.
Compare this to the DC at heavyweight when the man can live his natural lifestyle, because he likes to eat food, and be at his healthy, happy weight. DC completely dominates at this weight, in this state of mind, heavy hands, elite wrestling, a low center of gravity with unmatched strength and he is a real problem at heavyweight. Another win over Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 and a fan might wonder… What could have been if DC was a heavyweight for his entire career?
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (22-8 MMA, 9-7 UFC)
Featherweight (145lbs.): 1-1 (UFC) UFC Featherweight Title Challenger* missed weight
Lightweight (155lbs.): 7-6(UFC) UFC Lightweight Champion
Welterweight (170lbs.): 1-0 (UFC)
Anthony Pettis has grown up and evolved in the UFC right before our eyes. Showtime’s explosive style with flashy kicks and acrobatic strikes have made him a fan favorite and a guy that is able to stop a fight at any moment. Pettis struggled moving around in weight trying to find the right place for him. Now in his recent move up to 170, Showtime says that hes feeling better than ever during fight week and was even very close to being on weight very early in the week. Showtime’s move to welterweight is great along with RDA because it shows that elite competitors in the shark infested waters of 155lbs can also compete in the super competitive welterweight division as well. The most important thing is match up, and styles, no matter the weight class, make fights. And having a healthy fighter that is ready to compete and perform his style to his fullest abilities is an essential part of that and it seems as if Pettis does that best at 170lbs.
Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC)
Lightweight(155lbs.): 11-6 (UFC) The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 Winner, UFC Lightweight Title Challenger
Welterweight (170lbs.) 2-3 (UFC)
Catchweight (177lbs.): 1-0 (UFC) Weighted in at 171lbs. and won this bout
Nate Diaz is set to make his return after his 3-year hiatus from the sport of MMA. The last time the proud Stockton product graced the octagon was in his rematch against The Notorious One. Nate is never out of shape as he trains for triathlons and is in the gym training year round. This anytime anywhere style and the fact that Diaz is always in shape really played into the decision making of abandoning 155lbs. Diaz might have been good at the weight class but he was killing himself to get there and already walking around in perfectly good shape as is. Diaz’s move to 170lbs has been one of the greatest moves in UFC as he beat The Notorious on two weeks notice at the weight class. And Diaz won the fight thanks to his cardio even though he essentially got up off the couch for that fight. The record may not reflect it, but Diaz is right at home in the welterweight division even if slightly undersized, its just a matter of the fights that the man wants to take.
Yoel “The Soldier of God” Romero (13-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC)
Middleweight (185lbs.): 9-2 (UFC) UFC Middleweight Title Challenger* missed weight for this bout
Yoel Romero is a complete freak of nature. You might hear that pretty regularly at this point if you have been a fan of MMA for a while but it really just can not be overstated. The human body should not operate in the way that Yoel Romero’s operates, he is just on a whole different frequency. At 42 years old Yoel should not still be able to cut the tremendous amount of weight that he does and still be able to compete. Even though Romero has struggled to make weight in the past and even missed weight for a title bout, he has remained at 185lbs in the UFC. The 20lbs. jump from middleweight to light heavyweight is a very difficult one but not one that hasn’t been traveled before. Romero has never been out of the mix for a title shot and his wrestling and explosive power have just been amplified by the massive amount of re-hydration weight that he puts on in the mere hours between the weight ins and the fight the next day.