UFC Title challenger Claudia Gadelha says she’s stopped cutting 22 to 33 pounds per fight, starting lighter

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Claudia Gadelha is making one very significant adjustment in her approach to fighting Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale: keeping weight down in training camp.

“I don’t cut much weight anymore,” Gadelha said in a media scrum in Brazil (via Guilherme Cruz at MMAFighting.com). “I learned that by losing much weight, I also lose performance inside the Octagon, so I’m staying lighter now. I learned to eat better, so I live on a diet now. I don’t go out of my diet a day now, not even on the weekends, because I have to be around 126 pounds to cut 13 or 15 pounds before the fight. No more cutting 22, 33 pounds for me.

“I think it’s already tough for a male athlete, and it’s even worse for a female athlete. It’s bad for your performance on fight night, so I’m living on a diet so it doesn’t become an issue in the future.”

Gadelha has little concern with how she’ll actually perform come July 8, believing herself to be a wholly complete competitor in the sport.

“I always felt like a MMA fighter, I don’t feel like a jiu-jitsu fighter fighting MMA, but I think I’m more experienced today,” Gadelha said. “I became an experienced fighter, focusing more on being a MMA fighter, a well-rounded fighter. I tried to evolve my striking, training more boxing and kickboxing, and for sure that’s going to be the difference in this fight.

“I’m aggressive too. I’m a warrior. When I get into a fight, I give everything I have inside the Octagon. I think the difference now will be my experience and the strategy we have now. I trained hard on a strategy to fight inside the Octagon.”

Penick’s Analysis: It’s a smart approach for Gadelha and any fighter at this point. Severe weight cuts only hurt fighters physically, and that draining cut almost always negatively affects their performance in the cage. If she can get to the 115 lb. limit in a much safer way, she’s going to be a more effective challenger, she’s going to have a better chance to take that title, and it’s going to make for a better fight.

[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]

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