Rafael Alves recently set the UFC record for the largest weight miss, coming in at 11.5 pounds over the featherweight limit for non-title fights (146 pounds). Alves' blunder only proves that weight-cutting is still a problem for UFC fighters, 24 years after weight divisions have been introduced by the organization.
Weight misses in the UFC occur due to a variety of factors including the fighter's age, natural size, and length of preparation time. Given how grueling the process of making weight can be, going over the division's threshold happens even to some of the best fighters. That said, Rafael Alves wasn't the first fighter to struggle with weight cuts and he won't be the last.
On that note, let's take a look at 5 fighters in UFC history who have repeatedly struggled to make weight:
#5 Yoel Romero
To say that Yoel Romero is huge for a middleweight is an understatement. The hulking Cuban apparently walks around at over 205 pounds, according to his manager Malki Kawa. That puts him in an awkward position as he's also too small to compete at light heavyweight.
To be fair, Yoel Romero has only missed weight a couple of times in his career. However, both instances couldn't have arrived at a worse time. Romero is the only UFC fighter to have missed weight for two championship fights.
'The Soldier of God' agreed to fight Luke Rockhold on short notice for the UFC interim middleweight title at UFC 221. His lack of preparation time proved to be very consequential as he went over the 185-pound limit and was subsequently stripped of the opportunity to capture the interim middleweight belt. Nonetheless, the fight went ahead and Romero defeated Rockhold via KO.
Due to his convincing performance, Romero still earned a title shot against undisputed 185-pound champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 225. Lo and behold, Romero missed weight once more for his match against Whittaker, and as a result, his title opportunity was taken away again.
Mackenzie Dern is one of the hottest prospects in the UFC strawweight division today. She has always been a fixture in the 115-pound division despite competing at 140 pounds in her professional Brazilian jiu-jitsu career.
Despite her youth, botching the weight limit seemed to be a recurring issue for Dern. The Brazilian-American missed weight by a whopping seven pounds in her matchup against Amanda Cooper at UFC 224.
Before her UFC stint, Dern went over by 2.8 pounds during her 115-pound division matchup against Montana De La Rosa at Legacy FC 61. It was the same story for Dern in her next fight as she once again failed to make the cut for strawweight in her battle against Katherine Roy at LFA 6.
As of late, Dern has seemingly found her groove. She has successfully made weight in her last five outings and is riding a four-fight winning streak.
#3 Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson
Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson started his career as a welterweight and retired as a light heavyweight. His evolution from a skinny 170-pounder to a hulking 205-pound contender tells us that 'Rumble' isn't a natural fit for the welterweight division. This was evident after Johnson gained notoriety for missing weight multiple times between 2009 and 2012.
In the welterweight division, 'Rumble' failed to make weight twice, missing the mark by six pounds once and again by seven pounds. In an effort to stop his weight-missing woes, 'Rumble' moved up to the middleweight division. Unfortunately, that's where he'll experience the worst weight-cutting blunder of his career.
Ahead of his scheduled co-main event bout with Vitor Belfort at UFC 142, Johnson clocked in at 197 pounds, missing the middleweight threshold by a whopping 11 pounds. Worse, Johnson went ahead and fought Belfort, only to lose via submission. After the fight, the UFC decided to cut Johnson loose.
Thankfully, upon his return to the UFC, 'Rumble' competed in the light heavyweight division.
#2 Johny Hendricks
For a time, Johny Hendricks seemed destined to become the next great UFC welterweight champ. He famously gave UFC legend Georges St-Pierre a run for his money at UFC 167, but ultimately lost in a controversial split decision.
Hendricks finally captured the UFC welterweight title against Robbie Lawler after GSP vacated the belt. However, 'Bigg Rigg' was unsuccessful in his first defense in a rematch with Lawler. After that, it all went downhill for Hendricks.
Hendricks went on to lose three consecutive fights after dropping the title and infamously missed weight twice in 2016. In an attempt to revive his struggling career, Hendricks moved up to middleweight.
Hendricks had a successful 185-pound debut but came in three pounds over the limit for his fight against Tim Boetsch. The fight pushed through despite Hendricks being overweight but Boetsch annihilated him, winning by TKO. Five months later, Hendricks suffered another TKO loss at the hands of Paulo Costa. He hasn't been back in the octagon since.
#1 John Lineker
John Lineker is the record-holder for most instances of missing weight in the UFC. Lineker made his Octagon debut in a catchweight (127 pounds) bout against Louis Gaudinot after he went over the flyweight division threshold.
The struggles continued for Lineker after he failed to make the cut thrice from 2013 to 2014. Moving to bantamweight seemed like a logical solution to his woes, and that's exactly what Lineker did in 2016. However, Lineker continued to struggle as he missed weight for a record fifth time in his bout against John Dodson.
In 2019, Lineker found a new home when he transferred from the UFC to ONE Championship. Lineker is currently a top contender in ONE's bantamweight division after he scored three straight wins against Muin Gafurov, Kevin Belingon, and Troy Worthen.