George Lockhart on McGregor’s ease at making 145 and future at 155lbs

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Conor McGregor added himself to the ever-growing list of star-studded clientele that seek out the help of expert nutritionist George Lockhart ahead of UFC 194 back in December.

‘The Notorious’ was full of praise for Lockhart at the event’s post-fight press conference after rendering Jose Aldo unconscious in just 13 seconds, but now the Irishman has set his sights on another one of Lockhart’s clients, lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos.

Luckily for the former fighter, he wasn’t forced to choose between the two champions ahead of their March 5 date. As the two teams have given him the green light to supervise both fighters descent to 155 lbs, the weight-shedding guru revealed that he personally will oversee McGregor’s cut while his team will look after Dos Anjos as he trims down for the much-anticipated super fight.

“I’ve talked with both Conor’s team and Rafael Dos Anjos, and they’re both cool with it,” said Lockhart. “The cool thing is we do this kind of thing pretty often and we’ve got a lot of trust. Coach Kavanagh has a lot of trust in me. I personally will be with Conor’s group and my team will be with Rafael’s group.”

Funnily enough, it was actually through an interview Lockhart did with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that John Kavanagh first heard about him. Impressed by what he heard, Kavanagh reached out to Lockhart and the collaboration has been a “perfect fit” for 32-year-old American.

“It’s funny actually, I did an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour and Coach Kavanagh heard it and he gave me a call. He kind of just asked me what I do and how I do things and he decided to give it a try. Everything went really well with the cut and the reload, it’s been a perfect fit.”

Those of you who have watched McGregor closely during his previous UFC weight cuts would have noticed a far more upbeat version of the Dubliner during the December fight week. Smiling from ear to ear at his open workout on the Thursday before the fight, it is no surprise that both McGregor and Kavanagh told Lockhart that UFC 194 had been “the easiest weight cut of his career”.

“Conor and his coach told me that it was the easiest weight cut of his career. It was cool because Coach Kavanagh was kind asking me ‘what will we do,’ during fight week, but I already had everything taken care of. We were on weight so early he was telling me, ‘I feel like I need to be doing something’, but everything was already done and set up.

“That’s a big part of our company. We try to make everything very convenient for our clients. It’s as easy as can be for the fighters really. We were very happy with how everything went and we’re happy that they thought it was such a good cut.”

Lockhart admitted that he thought that McGregor was in for a “very difficult cut” when he was first contacted by Kavanagh, and he was quite surprised that the weight came off the newly crowned featherweight champion as quickly as it did.

“Really, I though Conor was going to have a very difficult cut when I was contacted by his team. His team are so disciplined, though, anything I asked them to do, it would be done right away. I never had to ask twice. That made life really easy for me.

“I just kept looking at the numbers and I kept saying to Coach Kavanagh, ‘I just don’t see how this is going to be a hard cut’. I know that he had hard cuts in the past, but the numbers just weren’t adding up. Sure enough, we got to the end and everything went according to plan.

“I don’t want to say it was ‘easy’ because that would be taking away from what the fighters do, but relatively speaking, it was an easy cut.

“Timing is so important when it comes to the cut. How they sweat, how long they sweat for, the temperature of the water they get in for their baths, how long they spend in there, what they do when they get out – it’s very specific.

“It’s important to note the body temperature when they get out of the cut too. A lot of people will keep their room really hot afterward, but actually they should be trying to keep it as cool as possible to cool the fighter down. That keeps their hormones level and it’s key for how their pores open up when it’s time to cut again.

“All these little things add up, these inches create miles. The team was very open about it, they said there were things that they used to do, but now they understand the process a lot better.”

When considering McGregor at 155 lbs, Lockhart likened ‘The Notorious’ to his former teammate Dustin Poirier. As far as Lockhart is concerned, Poirier, who has gone 3-0 since moving up to 155 lbs, is “really flourishing” at the heavier weight class and he expects McGregor to do the same thing.

“I work with Dustin Poirier and a lot of guys were worried when he went up from 145 to 155. He was able to pack on more weight and he was able to focus more on his performance than the actual weight cut. He didn’t have to do any long distance running, instead, he could just focus on explosivity and I think he’s really flourishing at 155 because of that.

“I think Conor will go down the same road. Conor is still growing naturally and physiologically, he’s still advancing and his muscles and becoming denser. He’s getting a little bit heavier and because he doesn’t have to worry about the cut, I think he’ll do really well at 155.”

@PetesyCarroll

Photo: Zuffa

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.