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.
Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (33-15 MMA, 8-5 UFC)
Middleweight (185lbs): 4-3 (UFC)
Light heavyweight (205lbs): 4-2 (UFC), Light Heavyweight Title Challenger
Anthony Smith is a long time veteran of the UFC. It’s hard to believe that Smith began his career with the promotion at middleweight with his first appearance being more than 7 years ago. In Smith’s second and current stint with the MMA promotional giant, beginning in 2016, he had a pretty decent run going in the middleweight division. Anthony holds finishes over some good fighters at middleweight: Elvis Mutapcic, Andrew Sanchez, and Hector Lombard before finally being derailed by Thiago Santos at the beginning of 2018.
After that loss, Smith eliminated his weight cut and moved up to the light heavyweight division and initiated one of the more entertaining runs to the title in recent memory. Smith ran through two former champions in Rashad Evans and Mauricio Shogun Rua, stopping them both in the first round. Then Anthony stopped Volkan Oezdemir, who was fresh off of a title shot of his own, finishing him in the third round. And though Anthony’s 2019 bout with then Light heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones didn’t go his way, he truly proved that he didn’t need to cut a ton of weight in order to be successful in the octagon. Since the championship fight, Smith is 1-1 at 205lbs, scoring a cool 50k for his submission over Alexander Gustafsson last year, but falling to Glover Teixeira in his last fight back in May. Anthony Smith is to take on the next generation of a light heavyweight in Aleksandar Rakic, at UFC Las Vegas 8.