The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC 280 — Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira UFC
Charles Oliveira, UFC 274 official weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/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 cutting 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 and often there is always a risk of a fighter losing a percentage of their fight purse.

In this series, we will shine a light on select 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.

Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (33-8 MMA, 21-8 UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs.): 7-4 (UFC), Missed weight 3x in UFC

Lightweight (155lbs.): Former UFC Lightweight Champion, Missed (Championship) weight 1x 

Charles is 5’10′” with a 74″ reach and his UFC career perfectly illustrates how fighters/people develop and put on weight as their metabolism begins to slow throughout their late 20s and early 30s as they put on more mature muscle and “adult weight.”

First Lightweight Stint (August 2010- August 2011)

Record: (2-2, 1 NC)

Oliveira’s first stint at lightweight came when he first entered the UFC some 12 years ago, against Darren Elkins. Charles was a young, 20-year-old prospect with an undefeated 12-0 record when he made his debut in the UFC.

Oliveira went 2-2 with 1 NC during his first five fight stretch at 155lbs. After which, Charles decided to move down in weight, as many fighters do when they first enter the UFC or when they lose a few fights. Charles weighed in for his fight against Jim Miller at 153.5lbs. and for his fight against Nik Lentz the following year, 153.8lbs. Needless to say, you could easily make the case that Charles was a touch small for the weight class and could have began his UFC career at featherweight.

Featherweight Stint (January 2012- August 2016)

Record: (7-4)

Charles missed weight in his third fight at 145lbs. ahead of fighting Cub Swanson in September of 2012, despite having moved to the weight class just a few months prior. Oliveira was off to a hot start at 145lbs. too, so it was seen as unfortunate at the time.  Oliviera came in at 146.4lbs. for the bout missing weight by just 0.4 of a pound and suffering just the second KO/TKO stoppage of his career the following night. This one of Oliviera’s worst losses and it’s no surprise that it came after one of his worst weight cuts as well.

Charles would miss weight a couple of years later before his bout with Jeremy Stephens in December of 2014. Oliveira weighed in at 146.5lbs. for the bout and was fined 20% of his fight purse for missing weight. It’s worth noting that Oliviera suffered an arm injury before this bout so potentially that contributed. Although Charles began to run out of gas towards the end of the fight, he did enough at the start via submission attempts to get the victory.

Oliveira missed weight for a third and final time at featherweight in December of 2015 ahead of his fight against Myles Jury. Oliveira, now 26-years-old, weighed in at 150.5lbs. for the bout.

Because Charles was still ascending the featherweight ranks at the time, he was able to snag another fight in the featherweight division. But after losing to Anthony Pettis in August of 2016, Charles would begin his second stint at lightweight (the one in which he is currently on).

Charles Oliveira was pretty successful in the featherweight division, despite never quite beating the top guys of the division. Oliveira lost to the likes of Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway and cutting a large amount of weight definitely had a negative impact on his gas tank and chin.

Second Lightweight Stint (November 2016- Present)

Record: (12-2)

Charles began his second stint in the UFC’s 155lbs. division in November of 2016 and, would be finished twice in his first three fights back, going 1-2.

Charles made weight for the lightweight division and was well underweight often weighing in at 154lbs or less for his bouts. Oliveira did not use his full allotted grace pound in the lightweight division until 2020 when he was 30 years old.

In Oliveira’s most recent fight, against Justin Gaethje, he missed championship weight (which has no allotted grace pound) coming in at 155.5lbs. Charles missing weight resulted in him being ineligible to win the belt the following night.

UFC 280

Fans have truly seen Oliveira grow up in the UFC and while the Brazilian should perhaps have began his UFC career at featherweight, he should have only stayed their briefly. At lightweight Charles has looked good (and still does) but with his slowing metabolism it is getting more difficult to make the weight especially championship weight, UFC 274’s scale controversy aside.

Oliveira will be a fighter to watch on the scale and come fight time, to see if his weight cut effects his chin or his gas tank during championship rounds of the fight.

Oliveira competed in a pro grappling match in early 2020 where he weighted 176lbs. The ex-champ is a perfect example of someone who is really suffering from that 15lbs. gap between the lightweight and welterweight divisions. Charles is also a fighter that fans could potentially expect to see at 170lbs. before his UFC career is all said and done.

Current UFC undisputed featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will serve as the back-up for the lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and another man that has a very difficult weight cut of his own in Islam Makhachev.