The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC 257 — From Featherweight to Lightweight

Dustin Poirier UFC
Dustin Poirier Credit: Jay Anderson/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.

For UFC 257, the Weight Cutting Chronicles will examine three stars who made the jump from featherweight to lightweight in recent years.

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (26-6 MMA, 18-5,1 NC UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs): 8-3 (UFC)

Lightweight (155lbs): 10-2 , 1 NC (UFC), Former UFC Interim LW Champion

Dustin Poirier was actually on the WEC lightweight roster before making his UFC debut at featherweight on New Year’s Day in 2011.

Poirier had a pretty successful stint in the featherweight division stringing together a four-fight win streak and then a three-fight win streak. And Poirier never missed weight at featherweight. The first McGregor fight changed everything for Poirier however. After the loss, at just 26 years old,  Poirier moved up to the lightweight division and never looked back.

Dustin began his UFC lightweight career in early 2015 and rattled off four straight wins featuring three first round finishes. Against good compettion too: Diego Ferreira, Yancy Medeiros, Joe Duffy and Bobby Green. Before getting caught and finished by Michael Johnson in the first round of their bout in September of 2016.

Poirier would again go on a long unbeaten streak, this time six fights, on the way to challenging for the lightweight title picture. Something that stuck out on this title run for Poirier was just how durable the man is. Poirier has been hit with some hard shots and been in some wars, especially during this stint and his chin has held up phenomenally. Thats a testament to Dustin Poirier’s chin and toughness more than anything else, but its also a sign that he is indeed within the right weight class. (Specifically the Eddie Alvarez fights and the Justin Gaethje fight). And when Dustin secured the Interim Lightweight Title against Max Holloway in 2019, it really highlighted just how much extra power he carries in his punches at 155lbs. After an unsuccessful attempt at capturing the title against Khabib Nurmagomedov in September of the same year, Poirier bounced back in his last fight defeating Dan Hooker. It was a Fight of the Year contender and again displayed Dustin’s insane improved durability at 155lbs.

At 5’9″ and with a 73″ reach Poirier, on paper, is almost identical to Conor McGregor but I’d venture to say that Dustin is the bigger man in the cage on fight night. Durability will be the name of the game for Poirier as it has been his whole career, and in his rematch with McGregor, the elimination of an excessive weight cut certainly helps your durability.