Following up from our recent article about techniques for cutting weight, we’ve decided to take a look at the unsuccessful side of weight cutting – the guys who fail to reach that magic number. Below we’ve listed five of the biggest misses in the UFC, highlighting fighters who have, or definitely should consider, moving up a weight class.
5) Renan Barao, UFC 177
TJ Dillashaw won a massive upset victory at UFC 173 when he demolished Renan Barao (at the time considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world) and took over the 135 pound division. The rematch was set for UFC 177, a card that relied heavily on the championship main event to bring in viewers. Unfortunately Renan Barao’s body had other plans. Barao actually ended up hospitalised on the day of the weigh in and had to be replaced by Joe Soto – who Dillashaw KO’d to defend his title.
4) Kelvin Gastelum, UFC 205
We don’t know how badly Kelvin Gastelum missed weight for his match up with Donald Cerrone because he held his hands up and admitted he was never doing to make weight before he got near the scales. Kelvin has a history of making weight, being forced to move from welterweight up to middleweight in the past, and every time it looks like he has his weight cut sorted he fails to make weight. We’re classing UFC 205 as his most significant miss because it was going to be on the biggest UFC pay-per-view in history, the first event held in New York’s Madison Square Garden, and his failure to make weight prompted Dana White to declare he’s never going to fight at welterweight again.
3) Anthony Pettis, UFC 206
In his second showing at lightweight Showtime was booked to fight Max Holloway for the interim title. Despite being successful in his weight cut the first time he failed to reach 145 pounds this time around, tipping the scales at 148. This disqualified him from the chance to pick up the strap, though Holloway was still in with a chance because he made weight. The real effect of the weight cut was seen in the fight, where Pettis was one step behind Holloway the entire time. The fight was stopped in the third round, Holloway left with the belt, and Pettis decided that was the last time he was going to try and fight at 145.
2) Johny Hendricks, UFC 192.
Hedricks is known for walking round big, over 200 pounds despite fighting at 170, and has cut it pretty fine with weigh ins before. But the worst weight cut for him has to be his UFC 192 bout with Tyron Woodley. Similar to Renan Barao, Hendricks found himself in the emergency room before he got on the scales, suffering an intestinal blockage and kidney stones. The fight had to be called off, but Hendricks continued to fight at welterweight until this year.
1) Anthony Johnson, UFC 142.
No weight cut list would be complete if it wasn’t topped by Anthony Johnson. Despite being an absolute beast, who had to cut weight to make the 205 light heavyweight limit, Rumble used to fight at welterweight. After missing weight a couple of times by 6 or 7 pounds (and there being stories about his trainers literally having to lock him in a sauna to make the cut) Johnson moved up to 185 pounds to fight Vitor Belfort. Everyone agreed that 185 was a much better fit for Rumble – apart from he still couldn’t cut enough. In fact Rumble was closer to the light heavyweight limit, weighing in at 197. Though the fight still went ahead (on the condition at Johnson weighed in under 205 on the day) it ended with Belfort getting the submission in the first round, and Rumble being cut from the UFC.