A hotly anticipated lightweight title unification bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier takes place at UFC 242 — and the champ’s weight cut will be in the spotlight once again.
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.
Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC)
Lightweight (155lbs.): 9-0 (UFC) UFC Lightweight Champion, Missed weight multiple times
Catchweight (158lbs.-160lbs.): 2-0 (UFC) fought catchweight bouts for a couple of fights that he missed weight in
Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the most dominant fighters that rely on grappling in mixed martial arts. Without a doubt, Khabib has the most impressive record in the UFC today. But just because Khabib has an unblemished record doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had his struggles inside, and out, of the octagon.
Khabib is a very big guy, stout, dense and carries a lot of weight outside of fight camp. As a result, Khabib has to undergo a massive weight cut in order to make it to 155lbs. Khabib is 5’10” and has a 70″ reach, but weight cutting is such a large part of the history of grappling so this normally 190lb man trims down quite a bit to make the required weight.
Nurmagomedov built a reputation during his rivalry with Tony Ferguson for not being able to hit the octagon due to injury or weight cut issues. This can be seen during the last time the pair were booked back in 2017. The bout fell through the day before, because Khabib was rushed to hospital due to a bad weight cut. In the fights since that scheduled bout however, Khabib has looked a whole lot better on the scale and appears to be taking the nutrition part of his weight cut a lot more seriously. As well as keeping his weight down in between fights. Khabib will also have his father for his training camp and fight week because the bout is in Abu Dhabi, so the odds of him missing weight are very very low.
Dustin ‘The Diamond” Poirier (25-5 MMA, 18-4 UFC)
Featherweight (145lbs.): 8-3 (UFC)
Lightweight (155lbs.): 10-1 (UFC) UFC Interim Lightweight Champion
Dustin Poirier is a real fighter’s fighter. The man has taken the extra-long path in order to get to the title shot in the UFC’s lightweight division. A path that actually began in the UFC’s featherweight division when Poirier was just 21 years old.
Poirier’s crisp boxing and heavy hands have always made him a fan favorite to watch, but the man has always been on a mission to capture to the belt, not just put on entertaining fights. Poirier was great at 145lbs but suffered some devastating losses to some of the best fighters in the division, the while never losing consecutive bouts. After each loss, Poirier and his team evaluated what went wrong, made the proper adjustments and have improved every time we see them again in the octagon.
After Poirier’s loss to Conor McGregor in round 1 of their 2014 bout, he said goodbye to featherweight and moved up to lightweight and has only lost 1 bout in the fights since. Poirier looks phenomenal at 155lbs, very healthy, and hits super hard. Just look at what he did to Max Holloway in his last bout, as he crushed the featherweight champ with way less volume of punches but more power in his punches. In his last few fights, Poirier has fought nothing but the elite and champions from all over. Poirier’s move up and now even more powerful hands could very easily result in the capturing of the undisputed UFC lightweight title.