FAIRFAX, VA—Jorge Masvidal fasts this Good Friday. But it’s primarily because he wants to knock out Al Iaquinta on Saturday and not because Jesus Christ rises from the dead on Sunday.
“Every day I do cardo, about an hour to two hours,” he tells Breitbart Sports. “My weight class if I was in boxing I would be like a 160 pounder. But I’m not a 170 pounder, and for the last three or four years I really haven’t been a 155 pounder.”
Masvidal appears massive as a lightweight at the UFC Gym in Fairfax. Whereas Saturday afternoon’s opponent on the Fox Sports 1 Al Iaquinta looks like a lightweight, Masvidal passes for a large welterweight. On Thursday, he explained to Breitbart Sports that he entered training camp at 185 and still needs to drop about 12 pounds to meet the lightweight limit. Today, starvation, sauna sweat, and water deprivation combine to shrink Masvidal down to size.
Then he has 24 hours to eat, rehydrate, and rest. When the fighters step into the octagon, this can result in significant size differentials for men who weighed the same a day earlier. But too drastic a weight cut can sap energy.
Not all weight cuts are created equal.
In 2013, Brazilian Leandro “Feijao” Souza died trying to shed the final two pounds to make the flyweight limit. Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao passed out cutting weight last year, which upended the main event at UFC 177. UFC light heavyweight Daniel Cormier missed the 2008 Summer Olympics because of kidney problems resulting from a near-deadly weight cut.
“The weight cut is the fight,” Conor McGregor told Breitbart Sports in January. “The fight is freedom.” Ricardo Lamas, who McGregor mocked as a “big, fat mess” in January, told Breitbart Sports that—despite the Irishman’s report that he saw him eating a pizza with a huge bottle of soda—his weight cut for Saturday’s main event fight with Chad Mendes has been among the easiest of his career. He adds that he drank Starbucks, not soda, with his pizza—and one of McGregor’s spies, not the man himself—glimpsed him eating the pie. Looking fit and trim, Lamas said on Thursday he could make 145 pounds if necessary that day.
There’s a price to not paying the price. Fighters sacrifice a cut of their pay should they fail to fall within a pound of their limit at the scale.
“I always do,” Masvidal says of making weight. “I just run and run, and put the sauna suit on, and run, hit pads, and just sweat it off.”