When Jose Aldo revealed his plans to skim off 10 pounds for his bantamweight debut, he received a flurry of scepticism from the MMA world. Even UFC President Dana White claimed there was “no way” the Brazilian could make the 135-pound limit.
For the first time in his fighting career, the former featherweight champion worked under the guidance of Dr. Pricila Antunes to effectively make weight in the healthiest way possible.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Dr. Antunes admitted “it was a challenge,” but the pair worked together to overcome any adversity and reduced his carb intake to shred those extra pounds.
“He hates nutritionists,” she joked. “But he trusted me. Aldo is very focused, you know? He had nowhere to run, he needed a nutritionist this time. He couldn’t do it by himself. And his diet was pretty easy.”
Aldo’s doctor prepared a nutritionist plan that would achieve Aldo’s goals but still give him some wiggle room to enjoy the foods he loved. She revealed the only foods that were out of bounds were ice cream and candy. Aside from that, Aldo was allowed to enjoy burgers and chocolate in moderation. By adopting a ketogenic diet, Aldo was able to accomplish his weight goals whilst maintaining endurance:
“I think that’s one of the reasons why Aldo had so much cardio in his fight,” she said. “Many athletes tend to follow a protein diet before the weigh-ins. I’ve had that experience before but I think it broke my athletes. When I did the ketogenic diet with him, it worked.”
Dr. Antunes didn’t fly to Las Vegas during Aldo’s last week of weight cutting for his UFC 245 fight against Marlon Moraes. The doctor was relying on science to work it’s magic but admitted:
“I was afraid… I was very afraid.
“I texted Maria Amelia [Aldo’s other doctor] the day before [the weigh-ins] and said, ‘I’m afraid. What if something happens? What if it doesn’t work?’ She texted me the next morning congratulating me, saying that he made weight.
“Reading the scientific paper is one thing, but making someone follow that during a moment of stress before a fight is completely different, but it worked.”
Aldo lost his UFC 245 bout to Moraes via a controversial split decision. Nevertheless, the former champion proved to be on top form and remained unfazed by the weight cut.
“It was excellent,” Aldo said after the cut. “I never cut weight so easily in my life. It was way easier than everybody imagined.
“I knew it would be easy as soon as I started this diet months ago. I knew I would recover well and be strong to fight the next day. I was ready to fight five, 10 rounds if I had to.”
The 33-year old hopes his next challenge is a bantamweight clash against the current champion, Henry Cejudo. “Triple C” wants the match up to happen, and Aldo’s nutritionist is more than confident that Aldo can make the cut.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/23/2019.