Ask any combatant what they are happy about the most at the conclusion of their career, and the resounding answer is likely to be an end to weight cuts.
Undoubtedly, weight-cutting is an unforgiving facet of the sport. It is hard for fans to fathom and even harder to witness a combatant endure. Weigh-in day posed a particularly challenging task for the legendary former UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
During his unbeaten run in the UFC, he only missed weight once. But the UFC 209 debacle forced him to withdraw from a bout against Tony Ferguson due to a weight-cut-related illness.
In a recent interview on his YouTube channel, Nurmagomedov reflected on his role as a coach and teammate for other competitors now that he has retired from competition. Observing his fellow combatants embark on their own weight-cutting journeys, Khabib empathizes with the struggles they face even before stepping into the Octagon.
Nurmagomedov shared: “I go through all these emotions myself. When I see someone and I see how much they have left to cut, I empathize with them. I’ve been through it many times and I know what the person feels.”
From the moment of his retirement, it swiftly became evident why Nurmagomedov grappled with weight cuts throughout the years. There was a rapid increase in his body size after he retired.
Despite the challenges it presented, he expressed a desire to undergo it once more. This was solely for the unparalleled sensations and experiences it imparts upon a combatant.
Nurmagomedov confessed: “Honestly, I want to experience it again. I think that an ordinary fan or enthusiast wouldn’t understand this. You can’t get these emotions anywhere else. You only feel them on that day, in that state. You can’t get such emotions anywhere else.”
In the same interview, Nurmagomedov disclosed which weight cut posed the most formidable challenge in his career.
He pointed to his final bout at UFC 254 where he submitted Justin Gaethje and declared his retirement. The former champion declared that knowing it was the last cut of his career made it the “toughest.”
Khabib stated: “The last one. It was the toughest. I knew for myself that it was the last weight cut. I knew for myself that it I wouldn’t be in that weight class anymore. And I understood that it would never happen again. It was my last fight. I made the weight cut very well.”