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Lockhart: Max Holloway’s UFC 223 cut is ‘literally tied with the biggest cut I’ve ever done’

George Lockhart, whose team manages the weight cuts for Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and more, discusses Max Holloway’s “biggest cut” on short notice ahead of UFC 223.

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Monday, Bloody Elbow’s Three Amigos Podcast spoke with nutrition expert George Lockhart, whose team is working with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway, as well as six other fighters on this Saturday’s UFC 223 fight card. He broke down what happened when he got the call, the size of the challenge ahead of Max to make weight, and a whole lot more. Here is a partial transcript of the questions about Max Holloway.

Questions and answers have been edited for clarity.

How did you find out about the fight and how did you decide to get involved?

I saw [Max’s manager Brian Butler’s] number show up on my phone, and he was like, “Hey man, do you think you can get Max down to 155?” and he gave me his weight. I was like, “Uhhh, give me a sec.” I had to call Tyler Minton [who is part of the Lockhart & Leith team], who worked with Max for his last fight, and we were running numbers back and forth, and seeing where he previously was fight week.

Then 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.

The way he cut weight for his last fight, and the time before that, showed me the kid’s an animal and he’s very disciplined, so we went ahead with it. I know Max is going to do what he needs to do.

Is this a big cut for Max?

Yeah, 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.

What are the difficulties of cut this big on short notice?

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.

When most people we’re working with come to fight week, they’ve already done the weight loss and it’s time to just drop the water. With Max we’re doing things a little bit different, and we’re going to have to get a little fat off, though he’s already pretty lean right now.

Are there any concerns that Max’s previous ankle injury will hinder him from doing what he needs to in order to make weight?

No, no [concerns]. He’s super excited about this. 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.”

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.

How does the team handle working with both Max Holloway & Khabib, and pairs of opponents in general?

You know, we’re one of the very few teams that gets to cross-pollinate and work with every camp. We don’t just work with one camp. My job has nothing to do with you beating the other guy, it has to do with you being the best you. That’s all we care about. These guys see that when we work with them. It’s not like we’re actually training these guys to beat the other opponent. It’s just about you being the best you.

The funny thing is, a lot of guys like it when we work with their opponent. When we worked with Joseph Duffy and James Vick when they fought each other, they were stoked because they knew they would beat the best Joe, or the best James, on fight night. I think a lot of fighters think like that.

You can hear the full interview covering all of the following topics on the player below.

  • When George found out about the fight and how he decided they could do Holloway’s cut
  • How big is Holloway’s cut and what impact does only having six days have on the cut
  • If there are any concerns about Max’s previous ankle injury impacting the cut
  • Putting Max in a ketogenic state to help him make weight
  • How the fighters feel about George’s team working with both Khabib and Max
  • How to ensure Max can rehydrate and recover in time for the fight
  • Working with eight fighters on the card
  • Working with Joanna Jedrzejczyk and her previous weight-cutting issues
  • Fighters coming in heavier on fight week
  • Working with Anthony Pettis and his previous weight-cutting issues
  • Working with Felice Herrig and her interest in nutrition and diet
  • The Lockhart & Leith DVD set on BJJFanatics.com
  • The Lockhart & Leith certification system for weight management coaches