A number of fighters at UFC Mexico City were either moving up, or risking big weight cuts.
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.
Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens (28-16 MMA, 15-15 UFC)
Featherweight (145lbs.): 8-7 (UFC), Missed weight one time
Lightweight (155lbs.): 7-8 (UFC)
Jeremy Stephens is 33 years old but has been gracing the UFC octagon with violence since way back in 2007. Jeremy has truly evolved with the sport and to see the strides he’s made as a fighter since that time is amazing. All while remaining on the roster as a tenacious and fearsome fan-favorite who always leaves a lasting impression for his viewers. Lil Heathen has more of a journeyman’s record in the promotion right now but he has fought the absolute cream-of-the-crop on the UFC’s roster. (Gilbert Melendez, Donald Cerrone, Frankie Edgar, Darren Elkins, Anthony Pettis, and Rafael Dos Anjos, just to name a few. ) Jeremy started out as a lightweight up until he lost three in a row ending in a round one knock out to Yves Edwards at the end of 2012. Jeremy Stephens has not fought a lightweight since. Lil Heathen moved down to featherweight and won three in a row essentially saving himself from being cut from the UFC roster
Jeremy missed weight against Dennis Bermudez in 2015, weighing in at 149lbs, but also scoring a spectacular 3rd round flying knee knockout that was explosively brutal. Stephens didn’t go up even after this weight cut miss and it seems like he’s dialed in his nutrition and strength and conditioning for the proper performance like the professional he is.
Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis (17-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC)
Flyweight (125lbs.): 5-3 (UFC)
Bantamweight (135lbs.): 3-2 (UFC)
Sergio Pettis, much like his older brother, Anthony Pettis has occupied multiple weight classes with relative success, although not quite at a championship level yet. Sergio has fought the likes of Henry Cejdo at 125lbs, and Alex Caceres and Rob Font at 135lbs. Pettis has faced real fighters in each division and with care, could be one of the best fighters within both divisions within the next few years. Pettis turned 26 last month but made his UFC debut back at UFC 167 when he was just 20 years old. The human body can do a lot of things at 20 years old that become a lot more difficult at 26 and even more difficult or different on from there. And that’s what we are seeing right now, a very talented fighter settle into his body and find the weight he is comfortable at. The Phenom has all the potential in the world thankfully, he isn’t limiting himself to staying in just one weight class if it is hurtful to his health and performance.
Polo “El Toro” Reyes (8-6 MMA, 4-3 UFC)
Featherweight (145lbs.): 0-0 (UFC)
Lightweight (155lbs.): 4-3 (UFC), The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America Season-2
Marco Polo Reyes not only has a fun name to say but also participates in fights that are fun to watch. Reyes is a product of one of the first few Ultimate Fighter Seasons in Latin America and has only had one fight go to a decision in the 7 fights since he made it into the UFC after the show. Reyes is 5’11” and has a 71.3″ reach with a build that is a little more on the slender side. Out of Polo’s last 4 fights, he has lost three of them buy first or second-round stoppage. Reyes has elected that he might be a bit over-matched against so of the beasts that inhabit the lightweight division. Since this is Marco’s UFC debut at featherweight he is definitely a fighter to watch come weight in time.
Sijara “Sarj” Eubanks (4-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC)
Flyweight (125lbs.): 2-0 (UFC) was hospitalized trying to make weight for The Ultimate Fighter Season 26 Finale, missed weight on a second occasion
Bantamweight (135lbs.): 0-1 (UFC)
Sijara Eubanks is muscular and stocky. Eubanks is 5’3″ and has a 67″ reach. Sijara was on the season of The Ultimate Fighter that introduced the women’s flyweight weight class into the company. Eubanks has only made weight and fought, outside of the TUF house, twice. And Sarj has missed weight twice. So it only made sense that she was forced to move up, and now the 34-year-old has one loss in the UFC courtesy of an Aspen Ladd that hadn’t been draining herself for years to make weight.