October 2, 2018

How Khabib Cuts Weight & How Much Does He Actually Weigh?

There is a lot of controversies out there regarding the most recent UFC 254 weigh-ins ceremony and possibly Khabib’s having problems with this weight cut. The undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov stepped onto the scale looking drained and extremely exhausted. He had to get naked to make the 155 lbs limit and needed some help from the staff to get on and off the scale.

Take a look at the official UFC 254 weigh-ins video ahead of the Khabib vs Gaethje bout:

According to the nutritionist and weight cutting expert, Mike Dolce, Khabib stepped onto the scale heavy slightly over the 155 lbs championship limit.

Recently, there is been a lot of talking about weight cutting among UFC fans. One of the fighters whose name often comes up on the topic of cutting weight is the UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (check out these 10 interesting facts about Khabib).

Here, in this article, you’ll find out some secrets on how much weight Khabib cuts before the fight, his diet, and what is his walk-around weight during time off.

Does Khabib cut more weight than the other UFC fighters?

As I mentioned earlier, a lot of MMA fans complain that Khabib cuts a lot of weight, gets an advantage by doing so and that he should move up to the welterweight division.

Fair enough, but does he actually cuts that much weight, more than the other guys who fight at 155? Definitely not.

Among the UFC lightweights, Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee are also cutting a lot of weight. Khabib is not the biggest guy in the division and weight advantage is not the only reason why he is undefeated. A key to success with cutting weight is not only to be bigger but also to be able to recover conditions prior to the bout, retain strength, agility, and endurance.

Some other UFC fighters also have a history of cutting a lot of weight in the likes of Darren Till, Max Holloway, and Conor McGregor. Remember those days when “The Notorious” Conor McGregor used to make 145 lbs and looked like a skeleton?

Conor McGregor weight cut at 145 lbs
Conor McGregor had massive weight cuts when he fought at 145 lbs. At the time, he was one of the biggest guys in the division.

My opinion on this subject is that there are rules which are set by the organization. I don’t see it as a problem as long as fighters play by the rules and they are the same for everyone. Everyone is in the same boat. They are currently doing weights a day prior to the fight and I don’t see it being a problem if a fighter takes advantage of it.

A different story if a fighter has a history of not making weight more than once or had multiple health issues/problems because of it. In this case, I feel it’ll be fair for UFC to make an athlete move up to the next division. For example, if Till didn’t make weight twice in a row I think it would be fair to not let him fight in the welterweight again (he ended up moving to the middleweight division anyways).

Or, if Khabib were to pull out again because of the health issues while cutting weight – it would be a good reason as well.

Khabib’s weight cut issues

Khabib Nurmagomedov had 2 incidents with cutting weight in the UFC.

At the UFC 160 event which was his 4th UFC fight (against Abel Trujillo), Khabib didn’t make weight – he was 2.5 pounds over the lightweight limit.

Nurmagomedov was given 2 hours for the last-minute cut which he didn’t attempt. Khabib was fined 20% of his purse for being overweight. In the end, “The Eagle” left no chances for Trujillo and got an easy decision win.

The second accident is well-known to many of you; it happened in 2017 prior to the UFC 209 bout with Tony Ferguson. Nurmagomedov was hospitalized while he was in the process of cutting weight a night before weigh-ins. Khabib passed out in his hotel room with severe dehydration and kidney problems. Medics had to use the IV and ruled him out of the contest.

According to Nurmagomedov itself, he doesn’t have problems with weight cuts when he is healthy:

“My number one enemy is injuries because I train so hard. When I’m healthy, I always make weight”.

People from Khabib’s team were saying that they made some mistakes in the way they were preparing for that UFC 209 bout with Tony Ferguson.

Since then, Khabib fought Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor, and Dustin Poirier. He made 155 lbs all these times and it seems that Nurmagomedov has been keeping his weight lower during training camps.

How much does Khabib really weigh?

Nurmagomedov is fighting in the Lightweight division at 155 lbs (70.45 kg) limit – it is how much he weighs at the official weigh-ins a day prior to the fight.

The question is, how much does Khabib Nurmagomedov really weigh between fights, during training periods, and on the fight day itself?

Khabib Nurmagomedov weigh-ins vs Al Iaquinta
Khabib Nurmagomedov was 154.5 lbs at weigh-ins when he fought vs Al Iaquinta.

It’s not really a secret: Khabib himself, as well as his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, openly talk about his weight. During time-off, Khabib weighs about 85 kg (187 lbs). Then, in the training camp, as he is preparing for the fight, he weighs between 79.5 kg – 81 kg (79.5 kg or 175 pounds is the optimal weight for Khabib according to his father).

About a week from weigh-ins he starts to cut weight: down to 78 kg (172 lbs) 6 days before weigh-ins, then down to 76.5 kg (168 lbs) 5 days before and etc. until he is at 70.45 kg (155 lbs) for weigh-ins. Nurmagomedov and most MMA fighters say that the last few pounds are always the hardest to lose.

After weigh-ins, Khabib gains everything back and stands in the Octagon somewhere around the 176 lbs or 80 kg mark. It’s a normal and not unusual situation in the MMA world: Anderson Silva used to gain about 25 lbs after weigh-ins, Georges St Pierre – 20 lbs. If we look at the Lightweight division, Tony Ferguson’s weight cuts are similar to Nurmagomedov’s.

Is there any secret about Nurmagomedov’s weight cutting process?

Not really, the process of cutting weight is pretty straightforward and Khabib uses the same strategy as most combat athletes. It’s all about manipulating your water and sodium levels and decreasing water consumption. “The Eagle” drinks 8 liters of water a day for a week prior to the contest and stops water consumption a day before weigh-ins (he losses about 4 kg by doing so). He uses a sauna and runs on a treadmill to cut the last few pounds.

His diet during the weight cut process consists of tiramisu lots of fresh salads, fruits, and fish for protein. Right after weigh-ins, to recover, Khabib has plenty of water, 300 grams of honey, dried dates (they are high in calories and very nutritional), and bananas. A little bit later – beef brisket, chicken, and chicken broth. 4 hours after the meal he goes to the last practice before the fight. After that, in the evening, Khabib drinks black tea with lemon and has lots of salad/fresh vegetables. Later, he wakes up in the middle of the night at 2 am to drink 1.5 liters of water. With this diet, Khabib is getting back everything that he lost while cutting weight.

There is not much of a secret after all – the way Khabib cuts weight is very similar to how most UFC fighters do it. In the end, I have to put my word in on the tiramisu topic. Come on, people, this guy doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, he is extremely disciplined and professional. Do you really think he would eat tiramisu while cutting weight before a very important fight?

The weight cut is part of the MMA business. Like it or not.

Khabib Nurmagomedov 8 Replies to “How Khabib Cuts Weight & How Much Does He Actually Weigh?”


8 thoughts on “How Khabib Cuts Weight & How Much Does He Actually Weigh?

    Author’s gravatar

    Great article. Would love to see Khabib win titles at 170 and 185 one day.

      Author’s gravatar

      Doubt he’ll move up to welterweight. Maybe if they make BMF 160 lbs or 165 lbs division he would.

    Author’s gravatar

    He’s still been physically bigger than everyone he’s beaten. Would like to see his bullying style work on a guy with the same physical strength and size. I just watched the Micheal Johnson fight and Kahbib was noticeably bigger, as he was against Connor and everyone else. Nobody has a chance, because of Khabibs grab and dont leg go style. unless they have the same physical strength. He wouldnt be able to do it to woodley or Gsp or Stephen Thompson, or USman or Cody. Just so happens that his size and weight cut make him bigger than just about everyone in the division. He will be bigger than Gatje too, But Gatje might be strong enough to neutralize some of kahbibs bully wrestling If not, GSP certainly will be able to match kahbib in physical strength. That will be a great figiht, and we’ll see what happens when he faces someone he can’t dominate with physical strength and size.

      Author’s gravatar

      If there was a 160 or 165 he would have to cut so much. Those guys at 170 but from 200+/-. It’s either be a big fish in a small pond or a little fish in a big pond.

      Author’s gravatar

      No a cpl fighters have been bigger, tony, Edison, tyson, Healy..etc, etc. Khabib cld never go up hes to small, justin gaethje is much bigger.

      Author’s gravatar

      Barney, you need to really watch some content of Khabibs.. This guy wrestles Top 10 in America wrestlers who weigh like 230 lbs and dominates them in AKA Gym where he trained for 7 years or so.

      He’s known to easily dominate 200 lbers.. in wrestling. I don’t think size is an advantage for him. I mean are you really trying to insinuate he was that much bigger than anyone he fought? I highly doubt it.. Infact, i woulds ay more guys looked bigger than him that he fought than not.

    Author’s gravatar

    Conor did not cut alot of weight even tho yes he was big for the class…hes always been right at 160lbs which is nothing but water coming off. St Pierre never got above 185lbs before or after a weight cut.so alot of these facts are fictional.

    Author’s gravatar

    GSP doesn’t cut 20 lbs. He cuts 13 lbs. GSP has mentioned before in many, many interviews that his walk around weight is 183 lbs, which is his natural weight and it doesn’t fluctuate off season.

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