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.
At UFC Vegas 13, a fighter who best epitomizes finding success by forgoing a rough weight cut returns when Thiago Santos meets Glover Teixeira.
Thiago “Marreta” Santos (21-7 MMA, 13-6 UFC)
Middleweight (185lbs): 10-5 (UFC)
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): 3-1 (UFC), Former UFC Light Heavyweight Title Challenger
Thiago Santos was in the UFC’s middleweight division from the time he made his debut with the promotion in 2013 up until 2018. And in his 15 fight stint in the middleweight division, he had a decent record and picked up three Performance of the Night bonuses. It’s also important to note that at 6’2″ and with a 76″, Santos never missed weight while at middleweight. Instead, he moved up to light heavyweight to focus less on the weight cut as well as to capitalize on stylistic match-up opportunities in a different weight class.
Thiago’s three fight win streak at light heavyweight, that featured all finishes, led him to his impressive but ultimately unsuccessful challenging of Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title in July of 2019. It was, frankly, one of the best title runs in recent history. Santos made his debut at 205lbs with his ‘Fight of the Night’ performance-worthy win against Eryk Anders in September of 2018. A few months later in December, Santos earned a Performance of the Night bonus, this time for his spectacular KO over Jimi Manuwa in the second round. In his final bout before challenging Jon Jones for the LHW belt, Thiago faced the current LHW title holder Jan Blachowicz and was able to grab yet another Performance of the Night bonus with his spectacular third-round KO. Safe to say that Thiago has looked very impressive in the 205lb division, with his stand-up looking more lethal than ever. He could be a favorite to capture the belt in the future.