The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC on ESPN 12

UFC Atlantic City Dan Hooker UFC Milwaukee UFC San Antonio
Dan Hooker Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

UFC on ESPN 12 is a reminder that fighters who make the jump up in weight, forgoing grueling cuts, often find success.

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.

Dustin Poirier UFC Calgary
Dustin Poirier Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (25-6, 1 NC (UFC), 17-5, 1 NC UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs): 8-3 (UFC)

Lightweight (155lbs): 9-2, 1 NC (UFC), UFC Lightweight Title Challenger

Dustin Poirier is not far away from his 10 year anniversary in the UFC. And a lot has changed for Poirer since he made his UFC debut at just 21 years old at UFC 125, as a featherweight. Dustin actually had a 12-fight stint at featherweight in the promotion, in which he was able to amass a good amount of momentum with his quality boxing and entertaining fight style. But Poirer’s momentum was derailed when he was finished in the first round by Conor McGregor in 2014 and it forced him to evaluate the weight class that he was competing in. In hindsight, this fight turned out to be a blessing in disguise because Poirier had become too big for the weight class, and cutting the amount of weight that he had to cut was too draining. However, Poirier and his team believed he could be successful and his power would translate to a divisionthat is 10lbs heavier.

And man were they spot-on with that prediction. Dustin has more power at lightweight than he ever had at 145lbs and he has developed even more as a fighter as well. Save for a blemish to Michael Johnson in 2016, Poirier stormed through the UFC’s deep lightweight division taking out Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, and a few other high ranked fighters before getting a title shot. Though Dustin was finished by the lightweight champion Khabib Nuramagomedov in his last fight, he without a doubt made the right choice for his UFC career to move up in weight and a comfortable fighter is a dangerous one. Now, he returns Saturday at UFC on ESPN 12 against another tough foe.