UFC Vegas 43’s Terrance McKinney Shares How Weight Issue Fast-Tracked Career

Terrance McKinney, UFC 263 Ceremonial Weigh-In Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

Flashback to 2019 and Terrance McKinney was not where he wanted to be in the MMA world. Sure, he had turned his live around in a well-documented story of perseverance that is one of the best told stories of all time. However, he had lost his chance to get to the UFC with a loss on the Contender Series to Sean Woodson. He then followed that up with a loss to Darrick Minner at Midwest CF 18.

Despite running into that tough luck and not being able to find a fight in 2020 – largely due to the pandemic – the spirits of McKinney were still high. He knew that it might not be long before he turned that corner.

“I knew I was close. I got on Contender Series and I saw the guys that I lost to were winning in the UFC. So, you know, it helped me stay in good spirits and let me know I’m right there,” McKinney explained, noting the changes leading into the incredible run this year. “I’m just being more humble and giving my opponents the respect.”

That change in mentality has been huge for McKinney. In 2021 he rattled off three quick knockouts that put him right back on the UFC’s radar. He followed that up with a knockout over Matt Frevola in his debut in just seven seconds.

Although he attributes some of the turnaround to the change in respect for his opponents, he feels that a change in weight was just as vital to his newfound success.

“Also, going up a weight – [I’m] thinking about my health more than how big I was at 145lbs,” he shared. “I was already kind of growing. I could never get below 146lbs any time I made it. I knew eventually that I’m not going to be able to make this weight and then it happened sooner than I expected.”

It happened all too quickly before the Darrick Minner fight. Knowing that he was having issues getting down to the contracted featherweight limit, he and Minner agreed on a catchweight. From there, is was lightweight or bust for McKinney.

That all turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The weight miss made him feel like he had to go up a weight class, and McKinney feels like his choice to go up to 155lbs brought him all the power and energy he needs to knockout each of his last four opponents and perhaps the next one as well. Unlike other fighters, though, McKinney did not make this bulk intentionally.

“I just got bigger out of literally nowhere, to be honest. I just started lifting this fight camp,” McKinney admitted. “I went to the PI and they told me all the stuff that I need to do, and I know this is my job now.”

It’s a scary prospect to know that McKinney is now getting even stronger. With some more muscle behind those devestating hands, there’s a chance we’ll see yet another quick finish at UFC Vegas 43 this weekend. His bout with Fares Zaim will air as part of the ESPN+ prelims, which start at 3pm EST.

You can catch the entire audio of this interview at 2:33.