When the UFC wants to be sure that a fight makes it to the cage, the beam scale is one of the best friends they could ever have. Who really needs to know if the champion is off by .02 lbs or not heading into a massive PPV title unification bout? Give the makeshift commission a tippy set of bars and weights to slide around and as long as a deft-handed lackey can make it all look just about right, then there’s no reason the champ can’t hide an ounce or two.
Not to say that that’s what happened with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s weigh in for UFC 254 at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, just that the video can speak for itself.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 23, 2020
But, while the main event between Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov may now officially be going full steam ahead, that doesn’t mean that Khabib’s seemingly difficult weight cut hasn’t left people with a few concerns. Most notably, UFC color commentary analyst Dan Hardy. The former title contender weighed in with his own thoughts about what he saw from the champion as he hit the scales during the BT Sport broadcast of the event (transcript via MMA Mania).
“I’m a little more 50/50 after seeing Khabib stepping on the scale,” Hardy admitted. “Because I still don’t know the situation with him being so close to the weight and needing the towel. The fact that he was the first one on the scale was still a big statement.”
“If we get into the fourth round it starts to swing toward Gaethje,” Hardy added. “Those first two rounds are going to be very difficult for him to win against Khabib. There’s no doubt about it. And the question is, how does his conditioning hold up after 10 minutes of wrestling. Does he get into the third round with punching power or does he start to look slow and a little bit broken in his conditioning.”
Gaethje, on the flip side, appeared to hit his marks without issue, trunks and all. But, this is hardly the first time fans have seen the ‘Eagle’ look hard pressed to make weight. And for all those struggles, he’s rarely (if ever) seemed to feel the effects inside the Octagon.
UFC 254 goes down this Saturday morning on Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi. The card is expected to be co-mained by a middleweight top contender’s bout between Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates as fight time approaches.