The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC Washington — The Next Generation

Aspen Ladd UFC Sarah Kaufman Yana Kunistkaya
Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

After a two-week hiatus, the UFC returns this weekend, landing in the nation’s capital for UFC on ESPN 7.

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.


Aspen Ladd (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC)

Women’s Bantamweight (135lbs.): 3-1 (UFC)

Aspen Ladd has been a recent hot topic in the weight cutting debate. The 24-year-old struggled on the scale before her last fight against Germaine de Randamie back in July.  That fight ended in a 16-second knockout that left fans searching for answers. And in between the scales and the cage Aspen blew back up 18lbs, landing her on the California State Athletic Commission’s radar and receiving a temporary suspension from them.  In a media scrum with Cageside Press and others on Thursday, Aspen revealed that she has made some changes since her last fight including better utilization of her team and the UFC’s Performance Institute located in Vegas. Ladd also said that a couple of days out her weight is at 143.4, a very manageable weight to start her water cut from.

Yana “Foxy” Kunitskaya (12-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC)

Women’s Bantamweight  (135lbs.): 2-0 (UFC)

Women’s  Featherweight (145lbs.): 0-1 (UFC), Challenger for Women’s Featherweight Title

Yana Kunitskaya came to the UFC as a bantamweight champion from the Invicta FC promotion. Due to Yana’s frame and 68.5″ reach she was deemed to have adequate enough size to take on Cris Cyborg, who at the time, was by far the most feared woman in mixed martial arts. In the end, Yana lost that fight, in what ended up being lopsided beating which ended with a ground and pound finish in the very first round. But in the two fights against Liana Lansberg and Marion Reneau back at Yana’s proper weight class she has looked very sharp and earned two definitive unanimous decisions.

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Yana Kunitskaya at today's #UFCDC media day

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Yadong “The Terminator” Song (15-4 MMA, 4-0 UFC)

Bantamweight (135lbs.): 3-0 (UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs.): 1-0 (UFC)

Yadong Song is just 22 years old and three of his four wins in the UFC were finishes. Yadong stands at 5’6″ and possesses a 67″ reach. Before being called up to the UFC Song had multiple fights in the lightweight, featherweight and bantamweight divisions. At such a young age Yadong’s body is as resilient as ever and we will probably continue to see him at the lightest possible weight class that he can make which seems to be 135lbs. But Song is definitely a guy that could move between the featherweight and bantamweight divisions depending on the match-ups and the amount of success he is currently experiencing in a given weight class.


Jacob “The Killer” Killburn (8-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs.): 3-1 (MMA)

Catchweight (150lbs., 148lbs.): 2-1 (MMA)

Lightweight (155lbs.):  2-0 (MMA)

Jacob is making his UFC debut at UFC Washington and like many fighters, he is heading down a weight class. Killburn is a Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series Alum as he lost on the show back in 2018 against Bobby Moffett by D’Arce choke in round two. This fight was at featherweight. Jacob has taken quite a few of his fights a catchweight in between featherweight and lightweight. And in his last fight even though it was at lightweight, Jacob weighed in with an obvious point to prove at 148lbs. This obviously is not the stereotypical, enter the UFC, drop a weight class, trend.  Killburn is a bit of a tweener but can make 145lbs. no problem. Something else to keep in mind about Jacob is that he is only 24 years old, so picking between featherweight and lightweight divisions is definitely subject to future change as his body continues to fully mature and add weight. He’s also jumping in here on short notice.

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