Some fighters are better at weight cutting than others. The art of weight cutting is all a part of the process, with fighters cutting varying degrees in order to make weight.
However, some fighters don’t even come close to their contracted weight. Here are ten of the most egregious cases of weight cut-misses in UFC history!
- Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson vs. Vitor Belfort -UFC 142.
‘Rumble’ began his UFC career at welterweight, which is crazy to think about considering the man now cuts weight to make light heavyweight. In his first UFC-stint, Johnson made the logical decision to move up a weight class to middleweight. ‘Rumble’ was booked against Vitor Belfort in Brazil and still came in 11 pounds overweight. He was fined 20 percent of his purse and what should have been his 185 pound debut ended up becoming a 197 pound catch weight bout instead. ‘Rumble’ was ultimately submitted in the first round by Belfort with the help of some questionable stand-ups by the referee. However, the weight cut clearly affected ‘Rumble’s performance, and he was actually released from the UFC following the disastrous Belfort fight. ‘Rumble’ has found his home at 205 pounds, and has looked incredible ever since.
2. Travis Lutter vs. Anderson Silva – UFC 67.
Travis Lutter earned a title shot against then-champion Anderson Silva after winning season four of the Ultimate Fighter. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, an opportunity his fellow season four winner at welterweight Matt Serra made good on after TKOing Georges Saint Pierre in one of the largest upsets in UFC history. Lutter however didn’t make as good on his opportunity as Serra did, and actually ended up coming into the fight two pounds overweight. The UFC changed the fight to a non-title bout, which Lutter ended up losing by submission anyway. But Lutter had his moments, even mounting Silva before losing the fight. Even if he had won, his inability to make weight for the biggest fight his career would have kept him from being champion.
3. Johny Hendricks vs. Tyron Woodley – UFC 192.
Former welterweight champ Johny Hendricks is well-known to weigh over 200 pounds when he’s not in a fight camp, and has had some close calls in the past making weight. However Hendricks worst weight cut was easily the one leading into his UFC 192 fight with Tyron Woodley. The fight was not-to-be, unfortunately, as Hendricks suffered intestinal blockage and kidney stones during his weight cut, causing him to pullout of the fight on the day of the weigh-ins. Regardless, Hendricks says he’s staying in the welterweight division, weight-cutting issues be damned.
4. Kelvin Gastelum vs. Tyron Woodley – UFC 183.
Kelvin Gastelum is another welterweight who like Hendricks has had issues making weight in the past. Perhaps the worst case in Gastelum’s career was at UFC 183, when the Ultimate Fighter winner came in a whopping nine pounds overweight, weighing 180 pounds for a 170 pound fight. Woodley pocketed 30 percent of Gaslelum’s fight purse for his weight cutting issue and then went on to defeat the TUF winner via split-decision.
5. John Lineker vs. Ian McCall – UFC 183.
UFC 183 suffered another unfortunate weight cutting problem, as John Lineker failed to make weight by four pounds in his bout with Ian McCall. Lineker came in at 130 pounds for the 125 pound fight, making it his fourth time missing weight in the UFC, having previously missed weight at UFC 163, UFC on FOX 3, and UFC Fight Night 30. Lineker was also fined 30 percent of his purse for missing weight. The Brazilian went on to defeat McCall via unanimous decision.
6. Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson vs. Rich Clementi – UFC 76
Way back when ‘Rumble’ fought at welterweight, the first sign he was having trouble with the weight cut emerged in his fight with Rich Clementi at UFC 77 in 2007. Johnson came in at 177 pounds, which was six pounds over the welterweight limit. Clementi ended up submitting ‘Rumble’ with a rear-naked choke in the second round, scoring the biggest win in his career. ‘Rumble’ eventually moved up to the light heavyweight division, where he has found success as a contender ever since.
7. Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw – UFC 177.
Renan Barao now fights at featherweight, but for a long time he was regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world back when he was bantamweight champion. Barao’s weight cut leading into his UFC 177 rematch with TJ Dillashaw was so bad that he actually passed out and hit his head against the bathtub. He was pulled from the card and replaced by Joe Soto. Barao’s rematch with TJ eventually went down last year, where once again Dillashaw TKOd the former champ after outclassing him for several rounds.
8. Joe Riggs vs. Matt Hughes – UFC 56.
Back when Matt Hughes was welterweight champion, Joe Riggs was in his prime and actually made his way to a title shot all the way back in 2005. On the heels of a victory over Chris Lytle and after Karo Parisyan turned the fight down, Riggs signed on to fight Hughes for the 170 pound title. In perhaps the biggest fight of his career, Riggs failed to make weight and the fight was made into a non-title affair. Hughes still took the fight and submitted Joe in the first round, regardless of the weight difference. Riggs eventually made his way to middleweight, where he fought out the majority of his career.
9. Melvin Guillard vs. Justin Gaethje – WSOF 15.
When Melvin Guillard left the UFC, many believed he could be a champion in another organization if he stayed focused. Guillard was given the chance for gold after signing with World Series of Fighting, where he signed on to fight their lightweight champ Justin Gaethje. Unfortunately for Guillard, he missed weight and came in at 159 pounds, making the fight with Gaethje a non-title bout. Like in all other cases where the challenger fails to make weight, Gaethje still picked up a decision victory over Guillard.
10. Quintin ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs. Ryan Bader – UFC 144.
Everyone, ‘Rampage’ included, was looking forward to his return to Japan at UFC 144. Jackson had spent the bulk of his early MMA career in PRIDE FC, where he dazzled Japanese fans with insane slam-knockouts and incredible brute strength. However, ‘Rampage’ failed to make weight in his fight with Ryan Bader, coming in at 211 pounds for a 205 pound light heavyweight fight. The bad weight cut clearly affected ‘Rampage’, who Bader easily outwrestled and defeated by decision. ‘Rampage’ was never really even competitive in that fight, which was a massive disappointment for Japanese fans in attendance as well as fans watching worldwide.