When recently appearing on UFC Tonight, former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, who serves as one of Cyborg's MMA managers, commented that he knows a cut to 135 pounds for the former Strikeforce champion would be awfully rough. He even mentioned the possibility of a warm-up fight for Cyborg once she makes the move and debuts in the UFC before facing Rousey with the championship on the line.
The man that will be in charge of getting Cyborg down to 135 pounds will be famed MMA nutritionist and weight cutting guru Mike Dolce, and he's excited for the challenge and the chance to start working with a high-level athlete like Santos.
“I have every intention of working with Cris Cyborg once her UFC contract is finalized. Right now we're circling the drain, we're waiting for the go ahead, but Cris she's been on vacation in Brazil. If she was here in the United States, she and I already would have been working together. So she'll be back, her contract will be signed hopefully soon, and as soon as she has a date and an opponent, then it's game on, I will be working with Cris Cyborg,” Dolce told MMAWeekly.com this week.
Dolce has a history of working with fighters either making a move to a new weight class for the first time, or helping previously troubled athletes cut weight more effectively and in a healthier manner than just sweating it out in a sauna.
He believes his track record is proof enough that he could get Cyborg down to 135 pounds in a healthy way, and she'd be as good at that weight as she ever was in her previous weight class of 145 pounds.
“There's a couple ways to answer and the first way is going to be a little less than humble – I'm the only guy in the world that can get Cris Cyborg on weight and healthy. I only say that because I have the history. I'm only going to point to my resume when you look at Rampage (Jackson). Rampage was 260 pounds when he came into the fight with Lyoto Machida. He came out there and made 205 pounds easily and he beat Machida. Johny Hendricks is 215 pounds, started working with me, he's beat (Jon) Fitch, (Josh) Koscheck and (Martin) Kampmann. Johny probably is the biggest welterweight in the UFC, and he's destined to be a world champion. Thiago Alves, Chael Sonnen was 233 pounds six weeks before the Michael Bisping fight in Chicago,” Dolce explained.
“Nobody can say that any of my athletes ever look unhealthy or ever underperform as a result of their weight cut.”
Dolce had a chance to meet with Cyborg in Los Angeles before she traveled home to Brazil recently, and he knows the kind of unlocked potential she has inside. He hopes to have the key to unleash the beast, and make Cyborg the best 135-pound fighter on the planet.
“She'll be 135 pounds, it will be the healthiest she's been her entire career, and it will be the best performance of her entire career or I would not have taken the job. I can't risk having an athlete underperform as a result of a weight cut. I would never jeopardize an athlete's health. A lot of athletes come to me and they want me to help them drop a weight class or two, and I've turned a lot of huge names down because it's just not safe, it's not healthy,” said Dolce.
“At 135 pounds, Cris Cyborg will be the best of her career. She will be the greatest female fighter in the world. She will achieve legendary status at 135 pounds. At 145, she's too heavy, she's slower at 145. She'll be faster at 135, she'll be more reactive, more flexible, more mobile, and she'll be stronger. She'll produce more force per pound of her body weight than she can at 145; I guarantee it.”
As far as the whole idea of a “warm up fight,” Dolce doesn't get into negotiations for his fighters when it comes to contracts or fight promotion, he leaves that up to them and their management teams. In his mind however, Cyborg won't need any warming up once she's working with him and making the move to 135 pounds.
If Cyborg fights Ronda Rousey first, Dolce believes she will be crowned the new UFC women's bantamweight champion.
“Cris Cyborg could be the world champion today,” said Dolce. “Whenever Cris fights for the title, she'll win the title. So if they want one fight or five fights, whoever she fights, she'll beat. Whether it's Ronda Rousey for the title, or it's Sara McMann or Miesha Tate, but there's a lot of tough girls, but whoever she fights, she'll beat.”
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