The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC 248

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Deron Winn
Deron Winn Credit: Joe McDonagh/Cageside Press

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.

Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (13-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC)

Middleweight (185lbs): 9-3 (UFC)

Yoel Romero is an absolute physical specimen that can overpower other fighters seemingly at will. But all of this power comes at a cost, in exchange for the abundance of energy. Yoel has to sacrifice some of his energy before he even enters the cage with his massive weight cut. Walking around outside of fight camp the Cuban practically looks like a bodybuilder but always seems to reign it in just for his fights. After a lifetime of dedication to his craft what seems like magic to us, is basically another day at work for Mr. Romero.

Yoel Romero is a decorated Cuban wrestler that has been cutting weight for practically his entire life. Romero has never been finished inside the UFC. Every man that has faced Yoel Romero has come out on the other side with a significant amount of damage. The ‘Soldier of God’ has beaten almost everyone in the middleweight division but he just can’t seem to capture the belt and the time is ticking on his career. Yoel wants to fight for a long time, and with the amazing way he has kept up with his body, he should be able to. Just not at middleweight for too much longer. That much seems certain.

So if we see a Yoel Romero that misses weight or struggles mightily with a weight cut for UFC 248 and proceeds to not win the belt— what would stop him from moving up to 205lbs.? Especially since Romero is approaching his “43rd” birthday (he apparently does not have a birth certificate). In the past couple of years quite a few middleweights have moved up to the lightweight division and seen success, why not the Cuban?

Joanna Jędrzejczyk (16-3 MMA, UFC)

Strawweight (115lbs): 11-2 (UFC) , Former UFC Champion

Flyweight (125lbs): 0-1 (UFC)

Everyone knows that Joanna Jedrzejczyk was the most dominant strawweight champion in UFC history. And a lot of that has to do with just how big JJ’s frame is compared to the other women that weigh 115lbs within the UFC. Joanna stands at 5’6″ and posses a 65.5″ frame. It is pretty easy to tell just by looking at Joanna on the scale that cutting down to 115lbs is difficult for her.

As soon as the opportunity made itself available Joanna moved up in weight to the UFC’s flyweight division and found herself in a fight with Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant championship in that new weight class, back in 2018. Joanna would lose this title match up but returned a year later to beat Michelle Waterson back at strawweight in a title eliminator and again thrust herself into the title shot conversation at 115lbs. At 32 years old who knows how much longer Joanna will be able to comfortably make weight, but she has still been performing at a high level and looked fine on the scale her last time out.

Saparbeg Safarov (9-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC)

Middleweight (185lbs): 0-0 (UFC)

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): 1-2 (UFC)

Saparbeg Safarov has had a rough stint in the UFC so far. The Russian came into the UFC undefeated at 9-0, and save for his first pro fight at heavyweight, all of his fights have been at 205lbs. Sapabeg is 6’1″ tall and has a 78″ reach, a big guy but not so much that he is necessarily a full-blown light heavyweight. In both of Safarov’s consecutive losses he was finished, once by striking and once by submission. Now, Saparbeg and his team have chosen to make the move down to middleweight to take on some smaller competitors and hopefully get a winning streak going.

Deron Winn (6-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)

Middleweight (185lbs): 1-1 (UFC)

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): 3-0

Deron Winn is from the American Kickboxing Academy where he trains with Daniel Cormier and has a body type much like the former UFC heavyweight champion. Winn stands at 5’6″ and has a 71″ reach. Deron has a heavy wrestling background and therefore has been cutting weight for the majority of his life.

Before Deron came into the UFC he had most of his fights at light heavyweight and a couple of them at catchweight in between middleweight and light heavyweight. It’s very clear that making the cut to 185lbs is a difficult task for Deron.

Winn missed weight for his last fight at UFC Boston back in October of 2019. For UFC 248 Deron will again make attempt the cut to 185lbs, but in the future it is likely we could see him move up in weight much like DC did.

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