The Amazing Transformation of UFC Fighter Khalil Rountree From a 305lbs Chainsmoker to an Elite Cage Fighter

Published 03/15/2022, 4:12 AM EDT

Khalil Rountree recently won the Performance of the Night bonus at UFC Vegas 50 for insanely knocking out Karl Roberson in the second round in his light heavyweight bout. Rountree showed excellent speed, power, and precision while landing blows. He completely dominated his opponent and garnered a lot of praise for the same.

At 32, Khalil Rountree is an established UFC fighter, respected and followed by many MMA fans across the world. He does what he loves the most, fighting, and has enough on his plate to choose the life he wants to live.

Rountree has a presence that could be felt once he enters the Octagon, and his fitness speaks for itself during fights. In short, the American-born fighter is living the dream life. However, that was not the case long ago.


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The story of Khalil Rountree fighting against all odds and becoming a professional sports athlete is extremely inspiring. He narrated it to famous UFC commentator Joe Rogan on his podcast the Joe Rogan Experience.

He explained his detrimental routine to Rogan: “We were eating fast food every single day. Three times a day. Never drink water, soda only. Smoking like a pack and a half of cigarettes a day and just on the road traveling.”

This led to Rountree becoming an overweight, unhealthy teenager. He added, “And then by 19, I got up to 305 lbs. 19 years old. I remember one night laying down to go to bed and I just felt my heart pumping ridiculously, and I was just like no way… I think I’m gonna die and I woke up in a panic. And weird thing is I got up and went outside for maybe like ten minutes and smoked another cigarette. And I was just like… this is the problem, I’m coughing up stuff my heart is gonna give out and I’m only 19 years old.”

This was one of the life-altering events of his life as he then started learning MMA, along with his cousin.


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“And also, around that same week is when I discovered MMA with my brother just like watching the Ultimate Fighter on TV. And so I told the guys like hey I’m gonna train MMA. I don’t know what I’m gonna be but I’m gonna go train and get healthy,” the 32-year-old concluded.

Khalil Rountree impresses Conor McGregor with a brutal soccer kick

According to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, some moves are banned from being used during MMA fights. This list includes a kick to the head of a downed opponent, pulling hair, eye-poking, etc. However, there are a wide variety of moves and combinations that the fighters can legally use to send their opponent’s packing efficiently.

Recently, during Khalil Rountree’s emphatic win over Karl Roberson, the 32-year-old struck his opponent with a perfect soccer kick to the body as he tried to recover from a knockdown. He combined the kick with a flurry of blows and finished the fight thereon.


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This earned him a lot of praise from the industry, including the UFC megastar Conor McGregor. ‘The Notorious’ came out with a tweet applauding Rountree.


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McGregor tweeted, “A lovely timed soccer kick to the body of a downed opponent. A much under utilized legal strike. Nice to see some fresh innovation again in there instead of the usual garbage we see over and over.”

What do you think about Khalil Rountree and his amazing transformation? Let us know in the comments.



Utkarsh Gathani

150 articles

Utkarsh Gathani is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. A Mass Communication graduate from Wilson College, this sports buff, who is captivated by multiple sports, adores MMA. Conor McGregor is the reason for that as Utkarsh is in awe of the man's unbelievable striking ability, his lifestyle, and his trash talking.