Why Do Fighters Cut Weight in MMA | Explained

Weight cutting is something that almost every fighter does in MMA in order to fight other fighters their size.

However, there are some fighters don't cut weight in MMA and have still found massive success. In this page we will cover who they are, and why weight cutting is a thing.

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Table of Contents

Why Do Fighters Cut Weight?

Cutting weight is one of the most controversial topics in the sport of MMA.

Almost every fighter cuts weight in order to at minimum fight other people that are their own size, and at maximum have a height and size advantage over a smaller opponent.

mma fight

Some fighters will cut a minimum amount of weight (5-10 lbs), but there are also other fighters who will cut a massive amount of weight (35 lbs) to fight at a weight class.

Do Fighters Have a Choice to Cut Weight?

Fighters don't have much of a choice as to whether to cut weight or not. If they do not cut weight, they will be at a massive disadvantage as their opponent will be larger.

If you are a natural 170 lb-er who decides not to cut weight, you'll be in for a rude awakening as you'll be fighting natural 190 lb-ers.

Fighters weight in the day before the fight, which means they have at least 24 hours to re-hydrate.

The three fighters below will give you a better understanding of how much weight they can regain prior to stepping into the octagon.

At UFC 241, Costa weighed in at 186 pounds on Friday and re-hydrated to 213.8 pounds on Saturday. The two biggest gainers were Bermudez (140 to 164.8 = 17.7%), who actually competed in a 140-pound catchweight bout, and Yusuff (145 to 169.2 = 16.7%).

Fighters Who Don't Cut Weight

The majority of fighters who don't cut weight will not reach championship levels in Mixed Martial arts.

However, there are exceptions to every rule.

The following fighters became UFC champions while cutting minimal to no weight:

  • Israel Adesanya
  • Demetrius Johnson
  • Frankie Edgar
  • Lyoto Machida

Fighters Who Used to Cut Weight & Then Moved Up in Weight Later On

This is a commonly travel road by fighters, as they cut too much weight in their younger years, and realize that it directly impacts their performance.

Whether their cardio is shot due to dehydration, or their ability to take a punch is compromised due to the weight cut, or they just don't feel good at that weight class in general.

The following fighters moved up a weight class and became champions in the UFC:

  • Robert Whittaker - Moved up from Welterweight to Middleweight
  • Daniel Cormier - Moved up from Light Heavyweight to Heavyweight
  • Dustin Poirier - Moved up from Featherweight to Lightweight