T Nation

My First MMA Fight


Hey everybody,
I've been lurking the forums for a bit, but never posted before. I have my first mma fight coming up in 5 weeks, and I was hoping to get some advice on a couple of things. Here's a little bit of background info. I'm mainly a judo and bjj practitioner, and I'm very confident in my takedowns and ground game. However, I have almost no stand-up game. So you can imagine that I'm doing the boxing crash course right now.

First question:
I weigh 200 lbs and I have always competed at my natural weight. I have to cut to 185 for the fight, so what is a realistic weight cutting schedule for a first time cut like this? Weigh ins are the day before the fight.

Second question:
I know from experience that I have the stamina to wrestle for 3 rounds, but I'm not so sure about this striking stuff. Other than my regular jogging, what can I do to build my cardio?
Last question:

It's clear to me that I have to get serious about what I put in my body now. I've been reading about the supplement's at the store, but I'm pretty confused. Any advice on what I should start taking? What do you guys think is worthwhile?

Thanks in advance for any help you want to give.



Everywhere. In the mirror at home, in the mirror in the bathrooms, while you run, in your basement, in your bedroom, EVERYWHERE. Get used to getting your hands moving and slipping and ducking.

Hit the pads as much as possible, and do drills on the heavy bag like punch out drills and cutting down the time between rounds on the bag. You need to get your shoulders used to being up for 25 minutes. It doesn't come overnight. You better get cracking

Personally I only use a whey protein powder and fish oil. I haven't really felt the need to use anything else... but I'm old school when it comes to that, I'm not huge on supplements. Your diet is going to be the crucial part at this point.


Agreed on the shadowboxing & lots of heavy bag work. For me the heavy bag helps more than the focus mitts because it wears my arms out faster & you need to get those arms/shoulders in shape. Learn to keep your hands up (elbows in to protect your ribs) no matter how tired your arms become - you may tend to drop them anyway since you're used to looking for the takedown, so watch that.

Move around the bag as you punch, don't just stand in one spot. Footwork is tremendously important - try jumping rope quickly in various ways to work on that and cardio at the same time.

I have no idea about cutting weight.

As far as supplements go, I used Surge Workout Fuel & Alpha-GPC recently both at a recent week-long event I participated in, and during the training leading up to that week. Got great results with both supps.

Can't wait to see how the fight turns out - best of luck to you!


try doing a google search, using the words
T-Nation cutting weight fight...
ok here it is.

I do this because the search feature here sucks.
this has come up plenty with hundreds of replies- check them out,
and no offense to you, this is your first post, and well this is a topic of much debate,
and you might be here to stir it up.

If not keep reading.

Five weeks is adeqaue time but you need to come to some truths.

what is your body composition is like- are you carrying allot of fat?
what is your conditioning really like?
No really?
how clean are you eating?
what kind of junk are you eating?

before you can make any kind of cutting plan-
you need to be truthful about this.

make a plan for some carb/salt restriction
water manipulation and water cutting.
Its not something that is either pleasant or easy to do at first.
and its not fun.

However at 200 lbs you could do it in 4 hours easy- but it would be ugly.
Its not a huge cut.

good luck with your fight.



How are they matching you up for your fight? Will they put you against another BJJ/Judo guy? Or have you signed to fight someone else? The reason I ask is because if you're going to fight someone trained to stand and throw punches, no amount of preparation is going to prepare you to stand and trade with them for three rounds. Well no amount of preparation in the next five weeks.

I agree with Irish, SHADOWBOX! Every spare second you have, practice every striking move you know, and practice SETTING UP YOUR TAKEDOWNS! Even if it's a simple jab into a single leg, this must be done. Chances are you're not going to become an amazing striker in 5 weeks, and unless you've watched tape on this guy and his ground game is better than yours, you need to focus on how you can get this fight to the ground.


I hope you're conditioning your shins and legs too, and knowing when to check and when to grab kicks. You will be surprised how much a leg kick can fuck with your grappling and your confidence in your hands. Boxers and martial artists that are not used to leg kicks typically do very badly in leg kick bouts against a better thai guy as soon as it lands.

As a beginner, (IMO) you will not have too much time to learn good defense, head movement and footwork unless you live and breathe the shit . Get someone, even a friend, to do defensive drills with you, to hit you while you defend/slip and counter-grapple.

Check this out. Rodney King's stuff is solid for beginners in striking, although perhaps a bit redundant for the more advanced practicioners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd4WmpuSW6Y&feature=related


And - don't worry about supplements too much. I've not found them to make much of a difference apart from the protein powder - fish oil combination that Irish recommends. Food will do the rest.


here's another thread that was started about cutting weight: http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/sports_boxing_fighting_mma_combat/cutting_weight_4

i think 185 would be a good class. increasing your conditioning, as well as cleaning up your diet and shedding some water will help you make weight, as well as get you cardio up. as far a ssupplements, i'd be careful. if you're gonna try something, try it right away and no at the last second, since some of those can mess up your water retention, blood pressure, etc.

as far as striking...if you haven't started yet, i'd get with a solid boxer and someone who has fought MMA. they can show you the basics, as well as how to set up your takedowns and ground game. a solid kickboxing game is probaly a waste to learn this late, since it's quite a bit more complicated.

good luck!


OK, how are you in a situation where you are 5 weeks out from your first fight, have to cut that much weight and have no stand-up experience?

15 pounds in 5 weeks should be OK, I recommend grabbing a copy of Beradi's book grapplers nutrition.

Strikingwise, 5 weeks is way to short a time to do anything more than basics. If the other guy is a striker then you are not going to get better than him in 5 weeks, you need to be working on defence, closing the gap and takedowns.


My 2 cents on the weight cutting is to do it gradually over the next 5 weeks to ease the strain on you. You can certainly do it much faster, dehydrate and rehydrate after the weigh in since it is a day prior, but If you're carrying 15 lbs of fat, you should just cut it off and make yourself lighter on your feet IMO. If you're already lean that might be a bit of a problem though....

In addition to shadowboxing and heavy bag work, you might look at the hand cycle / upper body ergometer. Not sure if they have a specific name, but doing bouts on that will help strengthen your ability to keep your hands up.

General advice---if you're fighting a striker, don't strike with him. Set up your takedowns with some punches or kicks, but keep the fight in your world as much as possible. 5 weeks isn't enough time to train that up. You need to get with the program after the fight though, so you don't face this situation again.


Forget all the flashy supplements, most of them won't help you anyway. I only use protein supps, as well as vits/mins/fish oil. Every now and then I'll try something extra, but rarely see my money's worth.

For the weight cut, start cutting calories, but don't go drastic right off the bat. Try to cut too fast, and you will burn out early. I've done the cut from 205 to 185 before, it takes discipline, but isn't too bad. Try cutting back on carbs, a little at a time. Easiest way to do it is to cut down your portions across the board. As you get closer, you still have room to play with your diet, and can get stricter if need be toward the end. For a day before weigh in, I would aim for 193ish waking up that morning. Then you can sit in the sauna for a few hours and cut the last bit, weigh in, then rehydrate/refuel. If this is your first time cutting water(assuming you are going to do it that way), I wouldn't try to go more than 8-10 pounds, even day before.

Def. do everything you can to bring your striking up, but realize if you are going against a well-trained striker, you will be at a disadvantage. Don't take that as discouragement, you just need to adjust your game plan accordingly. That is something you need to discuss with your coach/trainer, as he should have a good idea of your strengths/weaknesses.


The only way to build cardio for a fight is to fight. So spar at 100% with as many people as you can. There are a bunch of cardio circuits you can do to help that are a google search away. Randy Couture has a bunch of them on youtube. Get a round timer and do I dont know....10-25 3 minute rounds with a minute rest between. As your cardio gets better, shorten the rest to 30 seconds. You'll burn a ton of calories so adjust your nutrition accordingly. Mix it up a bit with striking and sprawling if needed but keep the intensity up 80% max heart rate or better.

You'll feel like you a dying, but if you gas in the ring, I guarantee you the other guy wont so train accordingly. As far as cutting weight, I cant help too much with that because I like to go into fights at my natural weight. If I do have to cut, I go with a dehydration cut and then flood my body with electrolytes like pedialyte or smart water as soon as I step off the scale, but you'll still feel weak. the best thing to do is fight at your natural weight. At least you get a day to recover after the cut. At grappling tourneys, you weight in the day of the fight.


Do everything you normally do wearing a snorkel. You can only get about half the air, so when you do everything without it on, it seems like cake.


great idea, i saw wanderlei silva doing this on that sweet ufc all access show so it must be good to do

espeically since wanderlei has gassed in his last 3 fights

oh wait...


and it teaches you to breath through your mouth, and not your nose....strike 2.


You're fucked. Just quit, dude.


to cut weight you could start running more and watching your calorie intake, unless you're really going to hit it with the running. if you ever see videos of professional mma fighters cutting weight they're always running and wearing sweatsuits to sweat out their liquids, but be careful and dont dehydrate yourself.


and another thing, you really want to be breathing through your nose until you get really gassed..


Ok I am pretty tired of reading about this snorkel nonsense. It does not benefit you at all. Your workout is at a much lower intensity so your muscle fibers are not being stressed at a high enough level, you are breathing more CO2 than anything which is making your blood acidic aka makig you feel like garbage and destroying your conditioning. IT IS NOT HYPOXIA.

The truth is snorkel training ruins your conditioning and can cause irreversible brain damage over time. If a snorkel could produce hypoxia don't you think hospitals would throw out their $100,000 baric chambers and just throw down $15 on a snorkel? Lightbulb!

If you want real hyoxia you need to find a gym that has a hypoxic generator which has high air flow just less oxygen. The benefits from hypoxia are based on your kidneys response to less oxygen releasing more of a hormone called EPO which increases how much blood your body has and increases cappilarization. In essence it is legal blood doping. A snorkel does not trigger this response.

Before you believe everything you see on TV maybe you should do a little research before you endanger yourself and others by offering them dangerous advice.


Anecdotal proof to support this: Wanderlei, Frank Shamrock