UFC's top body transformations including Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey and Michelle Waterson

UFC fighters come in all different shapes and sizes, from the small and ripped to the large and round.

Yet some undergo dramatic body transformations to take on certain opponents, change weight divisions or for a title shot.

Here are some of the most impressive body transformations seen in the UFC.

Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier is a former Olympic wrestler and one of the most beloved cage fighters in the Octogon.

'DC' first competed in the heavyweight division and packed a beefy frame.

He then dropped down to light-heavyweight when he joined the UFC, showcasing a new leaner frame.

Before his last heavyweight fight, a defeat in his trilogy with Stipe Miocic, Cormier weighed 224 pounds.

Moving to light-heavyweight meant he had to drop to 205 pounds.

A slim and faster Cormier competed with the best light-heavyweights in the division, including Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Frank Mir and Alexander Gustafsson.

He went on to capture the light-heavyweight title, defeating Anthony Johnson at UFC 187.

'DC' put on weight to return to the heavyweight division in 2018, winning the title and becoming only the second two-division world champion in UFC history.


Ronda Rousey

During the early 2010s, Ronda Rousey was the face of the UFC women’s division.

However, after her shock defeat to Holly Holms in 2015, the sport's golden girl looked like she might be done with UFC.

After disappearing from the fight scene for more than a year, pictures began circulating of a much heavier Rousey.

The former bantamweight champion looked almost unrecognizable in the pictures.

However, she announced her return to the Octagon against Amanda Nunes in 2016 and quickly got back to her previous weight.

Despite the slimdown, Rousey was destroyed by Nunes in just 46 seconds at UFC 207 – and she soon headed over to the WWE.


Anthony Johnson

During his first stint with the UFC, Anthony Johnson was notorious for struggling to make weight competing as low as welterweight.

This meant he fought various fights at catchweight – a designation for fighters who fail to make weight.

The UFC cut ties with the cage fighter in 2012, seemingly angered by his inability to slim down.

He returned to the UFC two years later finally settling into the 205 pound light-heavyweight division.

Johnson was given two opportunities against Cormier to win the title, but was unsuccessful both times.

Overall, he participated in eight fights, knocking out five of his opponents. His only defeats came against DC.

Johnson stepped away from the fight game in 2017, but since his retirement he has added a serious amount of muscle.

Johnson now weighs a frightening 285 pounds and has considered another shot at the octagon in the heavyweight division.

In August 2019, he announced he would be re-entering the USADA testing pool and could return in 2021.


Georges St-Pierre

The Canadian Georges St-Pierre is often regarded as one of the greatest MMA fighters in the sport.

Known by his initials 'GSP', he has defeated some of the great welterweight fighters, including Nick Diaz, Matt Serra and BJ Penn.

Unlike everyone else on this list, he only competed in the welterweight division during his career.

However, after taking a four year break from the octagon in 2017, he returned to take a crack at the middleweight division, battling Michael Bisping for the title.

For the first time ever, fight fans got to see a larger St-Pierre – and he didn’t disappoint.

GSP applied a rear-naked choke on Bisping to gain a submission win that added the Canadian's name to a short list of fighters who have won titles in multiple divisions.

He has now retired, but speculation continues to mount that he could return to face Khabib Nurmagomedov.


Michelle Waterson

Michelle Waterson is different from other fighters on this list as she had to transform her body after giving birth.

In 2010, after a victory over Masako Yoshida at Crowbar MMA, Waterson – then with a 8-3 record – signed up for another fight that year, but she noticed something strange during her workouts.

“I was doing all sorts of crazy stuff because I was getting ready for a fight, but the weight just wouldn’t come off,” she told Yahoo Sports.

Her positive pregnancy test was revealed, her fight was cancelled and her career was put on hold.

In March 2011, she gave birth to her daughter, which gave her a new reason to continue her fighting career.

“I was like ‘OK, you’re fighting for a reason now.’ I was hungrier and more motivated because I had somebody to take care of,” she said.

Hungrier she was, as her ripped physique began to show nine months after the labor.

Waterson returned to MMA on January 21, 2012, with a brilliant performance against Diana Rael at MMA Series VII: Spring Break.


Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor’s dramatic body transformation didn’t happen over the span of a few months; it took years of discipline and hard work.

'The Notorious' first stepped into the UFC in 2013, competing under the 145 pound featherweight division.

As a featherweight, McGregor defeated fighters including Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier and Jose Aldo.

After moving up to lightweight, he conquered Eddie Alvarez to become a two-division champion – the first man in the company to hold two championships at the same time.

Despite all his achievements, McGregor’s most impressive feat was his weight jump for his fight against Nate Diaz.

Eleven days prior to their fight at UFC 196, Diaz said he would only compete again the Irishman if he met him at 166 pounds – up 20 pounds from McGregor's normal 145-pound frame.

In less than two weeks McGregor gained the 20 pounds he needed and entered the fight with one of the welterweight’s finest – a match he ultimately lost via submission.

McGregor returns to the octagon on January 23 to face Dustin Poirier at lightweight.


Alistair Overeem

During the early stages of his career, Alistair Overeem was known as intimidating heavyweight slugger based on his sheer size and muscular physique.

While fighting on the Japanese promotion Dream, Overeem gained more than 20 pounds within the span of six fights.

Through the years Overeem’s body showed a phenomenal change, looking his best when he fought against Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 in 2011.

Overeem was scheduled to take on Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight title at UFC 146 on May 2012, however a month prior he failed a drug test.

Overeem had a 14-to-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, over the allowed ratio rate of 6-to-1.

Overeem was handed a nine-month suspension and when he returned in 2014 against Antonio Silva there was a clear change to his muscle profile.

His traps had all but disappeared and his six-pack was non-existent.


Jon Jones

Arguably the greatest MMA fighter to step foot in the UFC, Jon Jones found himself with a lot of time in his hands after being suspended in 2015.

The light heavyweight was bounced from the company and stripped of his titlefor his part in a hit and run incident in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

'Bones' used his time to power lift and added a substantial 23 pounds of muscle to his slim frame, getting himself into the best shape of his life.

His Returned to the Octagon in April 2016, defeating Ovince Saint Preux with little difficulty.

He controversially defeated Dominick Reyes in February 2020 to retain the UFC lightheavyweight title but opted to vacate the belt in August.


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