For most of us mere mortals, losing small amounts of weight can be somewhat challenging. Yet we often celebrate a New Year’s Resolution of losing ten pounds or so, over the course of several months, thinking “Wow, that was hard work”.
In the MMA world, however, weight cutting is normal practice. On average, a UFC fighter would lose anywhere between 10-15 pounds during fight week alone. This is relatively safe, provided they approach cautiously with the right medical team at hand.
Some fighters, though, have become known for cutting extreme amounts of weight in a dangerously short timeframe. Let’s have a look at five of the biggest weight cuts in recent UFC history.
3. Paul Felder [UFC Fight Night 182]
Weight cuts are normal for UFC fighters, but extreme weight cuts are certainly not normal. While the other names on this list frequently endure extreme weight cuts – Paul Felder is not a UFC fighter who has made a habit of looking like a ghost on the scales.
The ‘Irish Dragon’ replaced Islam Makhachev at UFC Fight Night 182, accepting a fight against Rafael dos Anjos on just five day’s notice. In order to make the 155 pound lightweight limit, Felder had to lose at least 25 pounds in just five days. Incredibly, he made the weight, and only lost the bout via split decision.
2. Yoel Romero [UFC 225]
If you took one look at Yoel Romero and had to guess what division he competes in, you’d probably say heavyweight – the Cuban former UFC fighter is built like a tank. Amazingly, the ‘Soldier of God’ has fought most of his career at middleweight.
Romero had a rough 2018 with regards to cutting weight. At UFC 221 he missed the 185 pound limit by three pounds, and even though he defeated middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, he was ineligible for the title. History repeated itself later in the year at UFC 225, as Romero was one pound overweight for his rematch with Robert Whittaker.
The ‘Soldier of God’ will be fighting at light heavyweight in Bellator this year. It is assumed he regularly cut between 25-40 pounds before every UFC fight.
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov [UFC 254]
Now known by many as one of the best UFC fighters to ever step into the octagon, Khabib Nurmagomedov is no stranger to cutting vast amounts of weight during fight week.
The Dagestani had been scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson no less than five times in the UFC, and every time it seemed likely to happen, an unfortunate event occurred on either side. Perhaps the closest we came to seeing this fight was at UFC 209 in 2017, only to be canceled when Nurmagomedov fell ill due to a botched weight cut.
It has been said that ‘The Eagle’ often cuts as much as 40 pounds in weight before fights – nearly a quarter of the 155 pound lightweight limit – and this behind-the-scenes video of his brutal weight cut prior to UFC 254 shows just how excruciating the process is in reality.