Having accepted the criticisms following his withdrawal from UFC 192 last October, former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks has committed to a change in lifestyle that will greatly reduce the amount of weight that he sheds in the build up to a fight, under the guidance of nutritionist Lou Giordano of LouTrition.
With a history of struggling to make weight, Hendricks was forced out of action prior to the weigh ins of the October 3 UFC 192 card, as the 170lb contender was hospitalized before weighing in for an anticipated bout with Tyron Woodley due to kidney stones and intestinal blockage suffered as a result of dehydration during the final stages of his weight cutting attempt.
Hendricks was known to “balloon” between fights, reportedly up to 205lbs, and has previously stated that he averages a weight cut of 25lbs in order to reach the 170lb limit. Hendricks’ habit of excessive weight cutting was likely first ingrained upon him from his college days as an NCAA Division 1 wrestler where weight cutting is an accepted part of the competitive lifestyle, much like MMA where the norm has been to squeeze into lighter weight categories in order to compete as the bigger athlete. However, times are changing, fighters are becoming better educated and weight management vs. weight cutting has been a significant topic of reform in recent months.
Following the calamity of UFC 192 Hendricks was ordered by the UFC to either seek help from a professional nutritionist or move up the 185lb middleweight division where he would be significantly outsized at just 5’8″. In an interview with Fox Sports Giordano indicated that Hendricks knew he could no longer go it alone with limited knowledge and that he is now committed to a healthier approach.
“My approach actually is a contradiction to what most fighters do, yes. And one of my biggest hurdles in talking to fighters has been to get them to understand that there is no advantage to going in to the fight so big.
“I’m not a fan of dehydration at all. The plan is to keep fighters as hydrated as possible. So, even though we might use a sauna, tub, all of that, we go into them fully hydrated. If you go in smaller than your opponent, but at 100 percent because you didn’t dehydrate yourself and you ate well the whole way in, and your opponent is bigger but is only at, say, 60 percent, you have the advantage.”
This turning point for Hendricks came with interesting timing as the well documented IV ban came into effect in the UFC on October 3, thus eliminating an athletes use of intravenous rehydration (IV) as a move to combat unsafe weight cut practices. The change has resulted in a number of fighters turning to a healthier weight management lifestyle instead of exposing themselves to the dangers of weight loss through excessive dehydration. IMMAF.org spoke with UFC Vice President of Athlete Health & Performance, Jeff Novitzky last December who already cited positive effects of the ban beginning to show.
Giordano continued: “Johny told me that he was walking around at about 205 pounds in between fights. We talked about how we don’t ever need to be more than 185 pounds, walking around. He agreed. That’s the beauty of it — Johny realized that he didn’t know everything, and that he needed to re-learn some things. And, for my part, I have to admit that it is going to take me a little longer to get familiar with his body.”
Last week IMMAF.org featured an interview with 2 x IMMAF World Amateur Championships gold medallist Jose Torres. The 135lb bantamweight world champion revealed that he also was now part of Lou Giordano’s client list and that he was dedicated to a new weight management lifestyle having renounced his previous weight cutting tactics. Click HERE to read the full article.
Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran