The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC Shenzhen

Jessica Andrade UFC
Jessica Andrade Credit: Dave Mandel/

UFC Shenzhen featured a small army of newcomers, a strawweight title fight main event, and a couple of question marks in the weight cut department.

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.

Yanan “Mulan” Wu (10-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC)

Flyweight (125lbs.): 1-0 (UFC)

Bantamweight (135lbs.): 0-1 (UFC)

Wu is another one of those fighters that looks like she is going to benefit heavily from the UFC’s most recent weight class addition, the women’s flyweight class. At 5’9″ and a 66 inch reach, Wu just cannot make the 115lb weight cut. But the women at 135lbs are too big for Mulan to handle. So the 125lb division is just perfect and she even can use her stature to her advantage in most match-ups within the division.

Mizuki Inoue (13-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC)

Mizuki Inoue is 5’4″, has a 64″ reach and is making her UFC debut. Inoue has a shoot boxing background which is pretty unique to see nowadays especially at this level of MMA. Inoue has struggled with cutting weight and even missed weight for one of her title bouts at 115lbs back in another mixed martial arts promotion.

Da Un Jung (10-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC)

Heavyweight (265lbs.): 5-2

Light Heavyweight (205lbs.): 5-0

Da Un Jung is a young 25-year-old, UFC newcomer out of the Korean Top Team. Da Un Jung is right around the 215-220lbs range when he is healthy and in fight shape and for virtually all of his heavyweight fights he has shown up at this weight and done relatively well, with just two losses. But, Da Un Jung has cut the extra weight off to go down to light heavyweight five times, and all five occasions were wins. Now the 6’4 South Korean who has all of his wins but one by stoppage looks to take on the UFC’s light-heavyweight division and weight cutting too.

Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (20-6 MMA, 11-4 UFC)

Strawweight (115lbs.): 7-1 (UFC) UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion (no successful title defenses)

Bantamweight (135lbs.): 4-3 (UFC)

Jessica Andrade might be short in stature, but what she lacks in height and reach, she makes up for with her power and tenacity.  Jessica stands at just 5’2″ and has a 62″ reach, with an extremely muscular build. The Brazilian first broke on to the UFC scene back in the latter half of 2013, in the bantamweight division.

Andrade is a very stocky woman and definitely fights in a way that utilizes that attribute. Even when Andrade was clearly the smaller woman in the 135lb division, and though she could get wins on her record in that division, wins in the top ten and within title shot contention always eluded her.

Fast forward to 2016 where after an underwhelming stint at bantamweight, Jessica took a grappling match at 125lbs. A nice little warm-up, to transition to move down in weight 20lbs, to the strawweight weight class just five months later. In her next 8 fights, Jessica would only lose one time, to Joanna Jedrezejczyk, by unanimous decision in 2017 when Joanna was still the champ. At strawweight, Jessica’s hands and strength are especially apparent and most of her wins come via overwhelming and overpowering her opponent, like her brutal slam KO slam of now-former champion Rose Namajunas. Andrade was pushing the average UFC female bantamweight around and now with a weight cut, she is dethroning the top fighters at strawweight.


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