Today's MMA fighters are better than they've ever been, which means competitors are continually looking to gain an edge over their opponents. For many, that edge is gained during the weight cut.
The idea behind cutting weight is simple: A fighter loses anywhere from five to 30 pounds (mostly water weight) leading up to a fight in order to compete in a lower weight class. Once the fighter weighs-in for an event, he re-hydrates and gains back most, if not all, of the weight he has lost, thus gaining a size advantage during the fight.
As you would suspect, there are risks to this practice. Besides taking an incredible toll on an one's body, studies have shown that weight cuts can effect a fighter's mental state as well.
In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, it was found that athletes who lost more than four percent of their body mass before a match showed "significantly higher levels of confusion on the day of the competition."
There's also the risk of "gassing" during the fight after a significantly tough weight cut. How many times have we seen a fighter enter the cage with a huge size advantage, only to be noticeably fatigued by the third round?
Still, despite these risks, some fighters continue to take on enormous weight cuts in order to gain a slight edge in their fights.
Here are six of the UFC's biggest weight cutters.