Max Holloway has a big weight cut ahead of him.
On six days’ notice, UFC Featherweight champion Max Holloway has stepped up to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 this Saturday. The two will fight for Conor McGregor’s Lightweight belt. That is, if they can make weight. Khabib has had trouble with this in the past, having been hospitalized before UFC 209. However, the real struggle will likely be for Holloway. Although he usually fights at 145, he is enormous for the weight class, and has only 6 days to make 155.
On Monday, Bloody Elbow’s Three Amigos Podcast spoke with nutrition expert George Lockhart, who’s company services both fighters. He said that Holloway’s cut will be a drastic one.
He said that when he received the call, he had to do a lot of nutritional calculation to figure out if it was even possible.
“I had to talk to Max and ask him what he had been eating, if he had been training. God’s honest truth, I was hoping he was eating crap, because if he was eating crap and we cleaned it up, we could drop some weight really quick, but the kid has been eating decently. I found out his body fat percentage and worked out how much water he had to lose.”
He said the cut will be a challenge for everyone involved.
“This is literally tied with the biggest cut I’ve ever done. It’s the exact same number as the biggest cut that I’ve ever done in my life. We usually want to start 10 days out, so this is definitely going to give us some challenges. The flight itself, that 18 hours of flying, is going to have an impact on the amount of water he’s holding. These are things we have to address.”
Usually, a fighter brings his weight down with a high volume of work through fight camp. Then the weight cut is simply a matter of manipulating electrolytes to lose water. This time, Max will have to lose a large amount of fat before the water, all with 6 days.
“We talked about how he’s feeling, and he can do the road work and all the aerobic activities he needs to do in order to burn the fat he needs to burn. I literally told Max, ‘We’re going to be asking you to do things that your body is not going to want to do.'”
Apparently the solution for this is a ketogenic diet which can be especially grueling for highly active people, not to mention an elite fighter preparing for the biggest fight of his life with travel, training, and media obligations.
“We’re going to put him in a keto state, and when you’re in a keto state the last thing you want to do is go run for an hour, because you’re depleted. He’s going to get off the plane, put his shorts on, and start running. I know he’s got the right mindset. Max is the one guy that can do that.”