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Nutritionist: Khabib would need ‘most integrity he’s ever had in his life’ to make 145 pounds

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s nutritionist, Tyler Minton, says the lightweight contender could make 145 pounds successfully, but he would need extra time and a large amount of “integrity.”

UFC 205: Nurmagomedov v Johnson Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s nutritionist knows it would take a lot to successfully cut down to 145 pounds, but he thinks the lightweight contender could do it.

Tyler Minton, who started working with Nurmagomedov ahead of the Russian’s planned fight against Edson Barboza at UFC 219 on Saturday, did an interview with MMAFighting.com’s Shaun Al-Shatti prior to Friday’s weigh-ins. The interview followed Nurmagomedov’s shocking claim of him considering a future drop to the featherweight division. Of course, Nurmagomedov has had weight-cutting issues in the past — in March, he was forced out of an interim lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson after failing to weigh in.

Nurmagomedov looked very in-shape at the official weigh-ins on Friday, and it appears that the weight cut went much more smooth than previous times. Perhaps that is all thanks to Minton.

Minton confirmed that Nurmagomedov is dead serious about eventually moving to 145 pounds and challenging the division’s current champ, Max Holloway, down the road.

“Well, he means it. This cut’s going really well,” Minton said. “Again, I’m not trying to tempt the MMA gods here, but the cut’s going really well. And when a guy sees that the cut’s going really well, and you see big possible fights at 145, you think, ‘Well, are there things I could start doing two months sooner and be 10 pounds lighter to make the cut easier?’ You start looking, ‘Are there things I could do?’

“So I think he’s seeing this weight cut’s going better and seeing maybe if he even starts sooner, it would be easier. But no, I think he means it.”

Minton said Nurmagomedov would need more time than usual, as well as diligence, for a cut to 145 pounds — otherwise, it would not happen. But give “The Eagle” those two things and he should be OK, Minton said.

“I think his body will do it,” Minton, who also works with Holloway and light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, said. “That being said, I think he would need to have plenty of time. He would need to have the most integrity he’s ever had in his life. He’s going to have to be on his game way ahead of time. It might be worth it, it might not. Some guys, just because you can make a weight doesn’t mean you should.

“Look at Robert Whittaker. He can make 170, but obviously he shouldn’t have. He’s better at 185. There’s a lot of that. So I think he can, it’s just, I would like to see where he’s at a couple months after this fight, what he’s walking at. I can generally tell you there if a guy’s ballooned up so much weight after one fight, it’s just not reasonable.”

The Barboza fight in Las Vegas will be Nurmagomedov’s ninth fight in the Octagon. He did not work with Minton for his first eight bouts, but that did not make it more difficult for Nurmagomedov to adjust to working with Minton, the nutritionist said.

“No, he’s super coachable. Very coachable,” Minton said. “And that was one thing you always worry about. That’s a nutritionist or any coach’s worst nightmare, is a guy who’s just stuck in their ways. And Khabib had all the positive risk factors for someone who was going to be difficult to work with. He’s had issues before making weight. There’s a communication barrier because of different cultures, different languages — which, he speaks English, and very good, but there’s that communication barrier a little bit. He’s, what, 24-0 doing it the way he’s done it? I mean, a guy who’s had that much success doing things, sometimes it’s like, ‘Man, what am I going to be able to tell them?’

“But immediately — I mean, if he has a question, he asks me. If someone asks him about something, he looks at me and wants me to answer. Super easy. He talks to me, texts me, calls me. If I’m not around, he’s texting and calling me constantly, saying this is what’s going on or asking what’s next. So he’s been super coachable and super in-tune to the process.”