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.
Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker (20-5 MMA, 11-3 UFC)
Welterweight (170lbs): 3-2 (UFC), The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashers Winner
Middleweight (185lbs): 8-1 (UFC), Former UFC Middleweight Champion
Robert Whittaker began his UFC career back in 2012 after competing on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes season. His TUF run was at welterweight, a season that pitted Australian fighters against fighters from the United Kingdom. Robert Whittaker ended up winning the entire tournament and entered the UFC at 170lbs at the end of 2012.
Whittaker’s career at welterweight in the UFC was very average, as he amassed a 3-2 record while beginning to see the negative effects of his excessive weight cut. Whittaker moved up to middleweight in 2014 and ripped off an absolutely amazing 6 fight win streak, including 4 first or second-round finishes on his way to the vacant middleweight title. Whittaker took out one of the largest, most intimidating middleweights in Yoel Romero, not once, but twice, successfully capturing and defending the belt against the Cuban. A great showing for a man that had won the TUF tournament and began his UFC career at a whole 15lbs lighter. Whittaker has had one of the most successful transitions to a new weight class in the UFC. And even though Whittaker lost his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya last October, he can get right back into the mix with a win on July 25 at UFC Fight Island 3.