The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC on ESPN 27

UFC: TJ Dillashaw
TJ Dillashaw Credit: Dave Mandel/

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.

T.J. Dillashaw (16-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC)

Flyweight (125lbs.): 0-1 (UFC), Former UFC Flyweight Title Challenger

Bantamweight (135lbs.): 12-3 (UFC), Former UFC Bantamweight Champion, TUF Season 14 Runner Up

T.J. Dillashaw will be making his long awaited return to the octagon for the first time since January of 2019. Dillashaw, a long time member of the UFC (via his very successful stint on The Ultimate Fighter Season 14), is one of the best fighters in the bantamweight division. Or at least he was.

In Dillashaw’s last fight before his long layoff, not only was he the UFC bantamweight champion, but had actually moved down in weight to take on flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. It ended up being a very very bad move as Dillashaw looked like an absolute skeleton and struggled mightily to make weight. So much so, in fact, that Dillashaw had to use a banned substance in order to get down to the weight, adequately train, and compete.

Ultimately not only was T.J. caught by USADA for using the banned substance, EPO but he was also KO’d in just over 30 seconds by Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw was promptly handed a two year suspension and subsequently a large cloud of doubt was cast over his entire body of work while under the UFC promtional banner.

But T.J. is back, and at his proper weight class of 135lbs. and though Dillashaw is now 35 years old he is supremely confident that he can recapture the belt in a division where he once reigned supreme.