Are you wondering what the biggest weight cuts in UFC history are?
In this article, we’ll go through the 15 biggest weight cuts in UFC history, detailing each fighter’s starting weight, timeframe, total weight loss, how they managed it, and any complications they experienced.
- 15 Biggest Weight Cuts In UFC History
- 1. Paulo Costa – 40 Lbs In 19 Days
- 2. Chris Weidman – 32 Lbs In 10 Days & 20 Lbs In 1 Day
- 3. Conor McGregor – 27 Lbs In 8 Days
- 4. Cris Cyborg – 25 Lbs In 4 Days
- 5. Paul Felder – 24 Lbs In 5 Days
- 6. Gleison Tibau – 66 Lbs From Fight Camp and 17 Lbs In 1 Day
- 7. Anthony Johnson – 59 Lbs In 2 Months
- 8. Johny Hendricks – 49 Lbs From Fight Camp
- 9. Douglas Silva de Andrade – 47 Lbs In 2 Months
- 10. James Irvin – 45 Lbs From Fight Camp
- 11. Daniel Cormier – 40 Lbs From Fight Camp
- 12. Yoel Romero – 40 Lbs From Fight Camp
- 13. Khabib Nurmagomedov – 35 Lbs From Fight Camp
- 14. Darren Till – 35.5 Lbs From Fight Camp
- 15. T.J. Dillashaw – 29 Lbs From Fight Camp (3 Months)
15 Biggest Weight Cuts In UFC History
UFC fighters are notorious for trying to get any advantage possible, and cutting obscene amounts of weight quickly before a fight is one of the most common.
And it’s understandable why.
If a UFC fighter successfully performs a huge weight cut of 15 to 20 lbs or even more, they may find themself bigger, stronger, and more explosive than their opponent, once they’ve replenished post-weigh-in.
So, let’s take a look at the 15 biggest weight cuts in UFC history, starting with the largest.
The weight cuts are separated by timeframe: short-term weight cuts performed in a couple of weeks or less, and weight cuts performed from the start of a fighter’s fight camp, which is typically 2 or 3 months.
1. Paulo Costa – 40 Lbs In 19 Days
At the start of August 2022, before his UFC 278 fight against Luke Rockhold, Paulo Costa weighed 225 lbs.
Just 19 days later, he weighed in at 185.5 lbs, a remarkable weight cut of 39.5 lbs. On the scale, Costa looked absolutely shredded with not an ounce of fat on him.
Paulo Costa was able to cut so much weight in 19 days because he has a huge amount of muscle for a middleweight, and muscles hold a lot of water.
This is in stark contrast to his 2021 fight against Marvin Vettori, where the fight was originally scheduled for middleweight and eventually changed to a 205 light heavyweight bout because Costa was failing to cut weight.
2. Chris Weidman – 32 Lbs In 10 Days & 20 Lbs In 1 Day
Chris Weidman cut 32 lbs in 10 days when he accepted a short-notice fight against Demian Maia at UFC on Fox 2 in 2012.
The fight was at middleweight, requiring Chris Weidman to go from 218 lbs to 186 lbs in 10 days.
In order to achieve this, Chris Weidman ate only chicken and vegetables but quickly changed to only a spoonful of peanut butter per day when he realized he wasn’t losing weight quickly enough.
One heaped spoonful of peanut butter is roughly 100 calories, meaning he was likely in a deficit of around 2,900 calories daily. He also continued going to the gym each day to burn extra calories.
Weidman explained that toward the end of the 10 days, he was unable to understand what people were saying to him and he was blacking out. His brain was severely starved and dehydrated, leading to malfunction.
From Thursday morning until the Friday afternoon weigh-ins the next day, Weidman was able to lose an astonishing 20 lbs.
Regardless, he had a successful post-weigh-in refueling, as he beat Damian Maia via unanimous decision.
3. Conor McGregor – 27 Lbs In 8 Days
Before his UFC 189 fight against Chad Mendes in 2015, Conor McGregor cut 27 lbs in 8 days from 172 lbs to the 145 lb featherweight limit.
This is a total body weight loss of 15.69% in just 8 days. At the weigh-ins, McGregor looked like Christian Bale in The Machinist; gaunt and malnourished.
Despite becoming the undisputed featherweight champion, he later vacated the belt and never returned to the weight division because of the extreme weight cuts.
4. Cris Cyborg – 25 Lbs In 4 Days
It’s unknown how much weight Cris Cyborg cut before her UFC debut at UFC 198 against Leslie Smith. However, it’s known that she was crying while cutting down to 140 lbs.
That fight was in January 2016, and she again accepted a fight at 140 lbs in September 2016 against Lina Lansberg.
This time, Cyborg had to cut 25 lbs in 4 days (starting Monday) and then weigh in on Friday morning.
Again, it’s unknown how much she weighed in the weeks or months prior to this, but Cyborg said she usually walks around at roughly 170 lbs.
Also, she revealed that she used birth control pills during her fight camp, which she said made her put on a little more weight than usual.
From this, we can assume she cut 30 lbs in around 2 weeks.
5. Paul Felder – 24 Lbs In 5 Days
After an injury to Islam Makhachev at UFC FN:182 in November 2020, Paul Felder stepped in as his replacement, 3 days before the bout against Rafael Dos Anjos.
Before starting the weight cut, Paul Felder weighed roughly 180 lbs, meaning he had 24 lbs to cut to make the 156 lb lightweight limit for nontitle fights.
He was on the treadmill on Sunday when he received the call from his manager about RDA needing a replacement, as he was training for a triathlon in March.
This left him the rest of Sunday and the next 4 days to cut 24 lbs by Friday morning weigh-in. He weighed in at 156.75, cutting just over 24 lbs in 5 days.
Despite cutting an insane amount of weight in a short time frame, Paul Felder went the distance with RDA, losing by a split decision.
Shortly after his loss to Rafael Dos Anjos, Paul Felder retired from MMA. He explained in an interview with Ariel Helwani that never wanting to weight cut again was a big reason why.
6. Gleison Tibau – 66 Lbs From Fight Camp and 17 Lbs In 1 Day
Before his fight against Evan Dunham at UFC 156 in February 2013, Gleison Tibau weighed 211 lbs at the start of his fight camp.
This means Gleison Tibau had to lose 31.9% of his total body weight in the months leading up to this fight – an insane amount.
Not only this, but he weighed 172 lbs on Thursday morning, the day before his Friday afternoon weigh-ins at 4 pm.
Gleison Tibau successfully weighed in at 155 lbs the next day, meaning he lost 17 lbs in just 1 day!
Losing such a large amount of weight in 1 day, as well as losing so much weight from the start of fight camp, makes this the biggest weight cut in UFC history.
In a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani, Gleison said he weighed between 180 and 182 lbs for the fight, meaning he gained 17.42% of his total body weight back (27 lbs) in 1 day and a half.
7. Anthony Johnson – 59 Lbs In 2 Months
Anthony Johnson is widely regarded as one of the craziest weigh-cutters in UFC history.
His most insane transformation was in the 2 months before his UFC FN:24 bout against Dan Hardy in March 2011.
He managed to cut 59 lbs in just 2 months, going from 230 lbs to a weigh-in weight of 171 lbs.
When fighting in the welterweight division, Johnson’s usual walk-around weight was 210 lbs.
However, before accepting the fight against Hardy, he’d just finished recovering from a knee surgery that had left him weighing a massive 230 lbs.
Despite cutting this ridiculous amount of weight, Anthony Johnson beat Dan Hardy via unanimous decision.
8. Johny Hendricks – 49 Lbs From Fight Camp
When Johny Hendricks was competing in the UFC middleweight division, his coach reported that Hendricks’ walk-around weight was around 220 lbs.
This meant that for his fight against Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 in March 2014, Hendricks had to lose 49 lbs to make 171.
On his first weigh-in attempt, he missed by 1.5 lbs but made weight upon his second attempt.
He went on to beat Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision to become the UFC welterweight champion.
9. Douglas Silva de Andrade – 47 Lbs In 2 Months
Before his 2021 fight against Gaetano Pirrello in the bantamweight division, Douglas Silva de Andrade cut 47 lbs (21.5 kg) in 2 months to make 135 lbs for the fight.
That equates to 5.875 lbs per week and a 28.52% total body weight loss.
Despite featherweight being his more natural weight class, Andrade said he made 135 lbs due to monstrous dehydration.
Andrade was able to lose so much water weight through dehydration because he has an insane amount of muscle mass.
10. James Irvin – 45 Lbs From Fight Camp
James Irvin was a huge man who at times struggled to make the light heavyweight limit of 205 lbs, as he was dropping roughly 25 lbs from his walk-around weight of 230.
So when it was announced that he’d be fighting against Alessio Sakara in his middleweight debut, many didn’t believe he’d make weight.
When James Irvin turned up to weigh in that day, he looked like a completely different person, a zombie.
Irvin was easily knocked out in the first round, with Dana White immediately saying that James Irvin wouldn’t be allowed to fight in the middleweight division again (because he looked dangerously unhealthy).
11. Daniel Cormier – 40 Lbs From Fight Camp
Despite being only 5’11” tall, Daniel Cormier is an extremely stocky man whose natural weight class is heavyweight.
So, when he was fighting as a light heavyweight in the UFC, he had to cut a lot of weight and was notorious for having trouble doing so.
Daniel Cormier’s biggest weight cut came before UFC 210 in 2017 against Anthony Johnson.
DC admitted that he had to lose at least 40 lbs during his fight camp to hit the 205 lbs limit, which on his first attempt he missed by 1.2 lbs.
2 minutes later, DC weighed in again and mysteriously hit 205 lbs. Looking back, it’s evident that Daniel Cormier cheated by holding the towel that was supposed to be covering his nude body.
The incident became known as ‘DC towel-gate’.
12. Yoel Romero – 40 Lbs From Fight Camp
Weight cutting was a consistent issue for the ‘Solider of God’. He remains the only UFC fighter to miss weight for 2 UFC title fights, one of which he won but couldn’t claim the title as per the rules.
While specific numbers were never revealed for any of his fights, it’s well-known Yoel Romero was huge for the middleweight division.
His walk-around weight fluctuated between 215 to 225 lbs when he was without a fight, meaning he would consistently cut 30 to 40 lbs every time during fight camp.
As he had very little body fat and huge muscle mass, most of the 30 to 40 lbs were lost as water weight in the 5 or 6 days before the weigh-in. It’s highly unlikely he put on more than 5 lbs of fat during fights.
Before his UFC 248 fight against Israel Adesanya on March 7, 2020, Yoel Romero told Ariel Helwani that he weighed 198 lbs on Tuesday.
This left him 13 lbs to cut in 3 days to make championship weight on Friday.
While he did make weight at UFC 248, it just goes to show the huge amounts of weight Yoel Romero would cut during his UFC career to make middleweight.
13. Khabib Nurmagomedov – 35 Lbs From Fight Camp
In the months before his UFC 209 fight against Tony Ferguson on March 5, 2017, Khabib Nurmagomedov weighed around 190 lbs.
This was his normal walk-around weight, with some claiming he would get as big as 200 lbs.
190 lbs left Khabib with 35 lbs to cut during fight camp. He would usually lose around 15 to 22 lbs during fight camp, then lose the remaining 13 to 20 lbs during fight week by losing water weight.
However, the fight was canceled after Khabib was rushed to the hospital in the early morning, suffering from memory problems, kidney pain, and severe dehydration.
Doctors said he almost died, where he would’ve become the first UFC fatality. Khabib was in intensive care for 5 days.
14. Darren Till – 35.5 Lbs From Fight Camp
Before his fight with Stephen Thompson at UFC FN:130 in May 2018, Darren Till attempted to cut 40 lbs from his walking weight of 210 lbs.
However, it was an awful weight cut. Till weighed in at 174.5 lbs, a large miss of 3.5 lbs from the 171lb welterweight nontitle fight limit.
Darren Till has since shared how he started experiencing blindness while attempting to cut weight on the treadmill, and how he was performing intense pad work while dehydrated.
He even had colonic irrigation in an attempt to lose the final few pounds of weight, but his body had already lost so much water that it held on to the little he had left.
In the end, Wonderboy agreed to a catchweight bout and Darren Till won the fight via unanimous decision.
15. T.J. Dillashaw – 29 Lbs From Fight Camp (3 Months)
Tj Dillashaw cut 29 lbs in 3 months from a weight of 154 lbs to make the flyweight upper weight limit of 125 lbs before his title fight at UFC FN:143 against Henry Cejudo.
Despite doing the cut in an adequate amount of time, TJ was cutting almost 30 lbs from an already low weight – 18.83% of his total body weight.
While 29 lbs wasn’t the biggest weight cut in UFC history in terms of lbs dropped, it was one of the biggest in terms of total percentage of body weight lost.
It was described as “the most intricately executed and calculated weight cut in history”. However, Dillashaw was left weak and wasn’t himself in the fight against Cejudo, and was knocked out in the first round.