When Chas Skelly inked his last bout agreement in mid-January, he knew what he was signing up for.
Skelly says he'll never forget getting on the scale that day to check his weight and seeing 185.5 flash back at him. Skelly, a featherweight, needed to drop 39.5 pounds in less than one month.
"I knew it was going to be tough from the time I accepted the fight," Skelly told ESPN.com. "When I accepted I was 185.5 -- I remember it clearly. It has been a nightmare I can't get out of my head."
Skelly (14-1) eventually did make weight, barely. He went on to defeat Jim Alers (13-2) via TKO in the second round at a UFC Fight Night on Feb. 14.
The 29-year-old former collegiate wrestler opts to cut the majority of his weight the night prior to an official weigh-in. It's not unusual for Skelly to wake up on weigh-in day with just one pound to cut.
Last week, however, Skelly's body did not respond well to the final cut. He says he was at a 24 Hour Fitness, sitting in a hot tub, until 3:30 a.m. Friday morning. He grabbed four hours of sleep, woke up and started cutting again at the host hotel in Broomfield, Colorado.
One week later, Skelly says his skin has still not returned to normal from the excessive amount of time he spent in the hot tub. "It's like leather," he said.
Skelly eventually came in at 145.75 pounds. He made weight, but three other fighters on the card did not. In fact, within the last two UFC cards, five total athletes have failed to come in on weight.
"For me, it's a pride thing," Skelly said. "I feel like I owe it to my opponent to make weight. They're putting themselves through the same thing.
"And if you miss weight and then do something awesome, you don't get a $50,000 [fight night] bonus. That's what I'm doing this for, is the money. I'm fighting to get a paycheck. If there is an opportunity for me to make an extra $50,000, I'm going to put myself in a position to get it."
Immediately after the knockout, Skelly looked into UFC cameras and stated, "I need a bonus, I'm broke."
When asked to expand on it, Skelly said he was half-joking, half-trying to draw attention to himself in an effort to win money.
Skelly is a member of Team Takedown, a unique mixed martial arts management team that invests early in fighters' careers, hoping to get a substantial return in the event they reach an elite level. Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks is the team's most prominent athlete.
"I was just joking, I'm that kind of person," said Skelly, on his post-fight comment. "I joke around a lot. I'm not struggling financially.
"Nothing is guaranteed and [Team Takedown] adds a little bit of stability to an unstable career. I've been on the team for three years. I've only be in the UFC one year. So, basically for two years they were supporting and investing in me with no guarantee I was going to make any money."
Skelly suffered an ankle injury early on in the win against Alers. He doesn't believe the injury to be serious but admitted he will likely require an X-ray in the coming week.
Looking ahead, the Texas native is committed to not ballooning up to 185 pounds again between fights (although this last time was partially due to a broken foot injury he suffered late last year). And as always, he will continue hunting UFC fight night bonuses, even though his last effort came up short.
"I feel like outside the UFC, I just wanted to win. I took the best possible route to a win every time," Skelly said. "I come to the UFC and I want people to like me. I want people to want to watch me fight. That's my goal. I want people to see my name on a card and think, 'I have to watch this guy, because it's always exciting.'"