The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC Vegas 24 — Whittaker and Gastelum

Robert Whittaker UFC
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JULY 24: Robert Whittaker of New Zealand poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 24, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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 (22-5 MMA, 13-3 UFC)

Welterweight (170lbs.): 2-2 (UFC)

Middleweight (185lbs.): 11-1 (UFC), Former UFC Champion

Robert Whittaker, who has now been featured on the weight cutting chronicles multiple times, does not struggle to make weight at 185lbs. However, the middleweight division is not Robert Whittaker’s original weight class.

Whittaker began his UFC career back in 2012, while in the welterweight division. It wasn’t until a first round stoppage loss to Stephen Thompson (and one more win) back in 2014 that Whittaker decided to take his talents up to 185lbs. From there, the rest is history, as Whittaker rattled off a eight fight win streak including capturing the middleweight belt and defending it multiple times. At middleweight Robert was able to utilize his 6’0″ tall, 73.5″ reach frame in order to be the quicker man in striking exchanges with devastating results.

Whittaker lost his belt to the current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya back in 2019. But Robert has since bounced back with two wins over top middleweight contenders Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. So it is safe to say that Whittaker did himself a huge favor abandoning that dramatic weight cut so early in his career.