#487: Weight Cutting in Combat Sports – Jordan Sullivan

In Podcasts by Danny Lennon2 Comments

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Guest Information
  3. Overview
  4. Related Resources
  5. Premium Content
    • Detailed Study Notes
    • Transcript


“Weight cutting” is a common practice in weight-class based sports. And typically, combat sport athletes have reported cutting the largest amounts of weight for competition.

The concept of cutting weight is based on the assumption that a size advantage gives a performance advantage in combat sports. And by getting into a lower weight class than their “normal” weight, athletes can enjoy an advantage (or, more accurately, not be at a disadvantage).

The decrease in weight from an athlete’s habitual weight to their weight-class limit typically has two phases: a chronic weight loss phase (gradual dieting to lose fat mass), and an acute weight loss phase (rapid declines in weight due to losses of water, glycogen and gut residue).

To discuss the science, practical application and dangers of weight cutting strategies, performance dietitian Jordan Sullivan is on the podcast.

Jordan has been the performance dietitian for several years to Israel Adesanya, Alexander Volkanovski, Leon Edwards, Dan Hooker, Kai Kara-France, and many other well-known names.

And he is the co-author, along with Danny, of the new textbook ‘Making Weight: The Ultimate Science Based Guide to Cutting Weight for Combat Sports’.

Guest Information

Jordan Sullivan, MDietSt, RD

Jordan Sullivan is a registered sports dietitian and the founder of The Fight Dietitian (TFD).
Jordan’s academic back- ground includes a Masters of Dietetic Studies (MDietSt) and an undergraduate degree in Exercise & Nutrition Science.

Jordan has been the performance dietitian for several years to Israel Adesanya, Alexander Volkanovski, Leon Edwards, Dan Hooker, Kai Kara-France, and many other well-known names.
TFD’s client list includes UFC world champions, Olympians, and many international and national champions, across a range of combat sports.


  • Weight class structure and ‘weigh-ins’
  • Stories & anecdotes about elite UFC athletes Jordan has helped to make weight
  • Why do athletes “cut weight”?
  • The weight making process: chronic vs. acute weight loss phases
  • Induced sweating strategies: uses, advice and dangers of sauna and hot bath use
  • Mistakes in copying the weight cuts of famous athletes
  • Differences in approach for “same-day weigh-in” stuctures (e.g. BJJ)

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  1. Thanks for this peak into the science behind this. I’m a fan of mma and muay thai/kb and always wondered how they could lose so much weight and still perform. Will the book be targeted at nutrition professionals or is it more generally applicable to the general public? I was also very interested to know more about the mechanisms and practical implications behind carbohydrates and fluid retention and how this might be applicable to endurance training.

    1. Author

      Hey Marc!

      The book definitely goes into the level of depth needed to satisfy nutrition professionals and those interested in the underlying physiology. Each part has a “the science” section, fully referenced. And the physiology goes into some detail (with additional “nerdy details” sub-sections). But to allow athletes to take everything from it, we’ve also done practical summary sections, and written it in a way we hope is understandable (rather than an academic paper).

      Yes, the sections around carbohydrate intake, glycogen replenishment, heat exposure, and heat acclimation will all be relevant to endurance training; but just applied differently.

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