Despite possessing the discipline and tenacity to succeed at the highest level of mixed martial arts (MMA), not every fighter has the science of weight cutting figured out.
Even after multiple years of competing in collegiate wrestling -- a sport heavily predicated on one's ability to manage weight -- men like former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks cannot grasp it.
No matter how hard they try.
For Patrick Cummins (8-2), the No. 9-ranked Light Heavyweight and two-time All-American wrestler at Penn State University knows how difficult it is to cut weight during wrestling season, as well as how easy it might be for a fighter to get lazy in his professional career.
"When you're cutting weight and some guys are just cutting their leg off to make weight in wrestling season and that's like eight months, it's a real drag to keep your weight like that and some guys have been wrestling since they were four years old," Cummins told MMAmania.com.
After Hendricks' recent hospital visit for his UFC 192 pay-per-view (PPV) mishap, company President Dana White has ushered the barbecue-loving Oklahoman upstairs to the Middleweight class, which may or may not be his permanent home.
Nutritionists have carved out a nice niche in many MMA fighters' camps, but it's the do-it-yourself attitude of combatants like "Bigg Rigg" that have lead to divorce.
Bad habits breed bad results. And from Cummins' experience, it's best to take control of your diet as early in life as possible.
"For me, I've kind of been almost what you'd call an enthusiast about my own diet. I never really felt the need to have a nutritionist," Cummins said, adding. "My brother is a chef and we share that love for the culinary world. He's influenced me quite a bit."
When it comes to the other aspect of MMA, which is sharpening tools and preparing for battle inside the Octagon, Cummins had little experience when he took a short-notice fight against current 205-pound titleholder Daniel Cormier in Feb. 2014.
As luck would have it, the then-veteran of just four professional fights was sent packing in 79 seconds via strikes.
However, since then, "Durkin" has rallied to compile a 4-2 Octagon record, defeating names like former Strikeforce 205-pound champion Rafael Cavalcante and Antonio Carlos Junior.
"I started without a real training camp," said Cummins. "I think over the past five fights we've shaken out all of the cobwebs and really come up with a good plan and what we need to do for 7-8 weeks. It's been very helpful and it's been keeping me healthy."
With such a solid wrestling base, the 34-year-old already had the framework to succeed in UFC, but in order to move upstream in the light heavyweight waters -- similarly to the way Ryan Bader has evolved -- he would need to fine-tune his striking attack.
Cummins began honing his skills at Reign MMA, but after retired UFC fighter and gym owner Mark Munoz called it quits and turned the lights off in the Southern California facility back in April, he needed to find a new home, which later became the highly regarded Kings MMA.
With a head coach like Muay Thai master Rafael Cordeiro at the helm -- and esteemed combatants like Heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum and perennial Middleweight contender Michael Bisping in-house -- Kings MMA was an easy choice.
"Michael Bisping is one of my main training partners. He had the surgery on his elbow. I've missed him in this camp. He's a great guy to battle with," Cummins remarked. "Mike is a really talented striker. Without you realizing it, he's cutting the cage off or slowly backing you into the fence. When you get in close quarters with him, he's able to keep your wrestling at bay and stick to striking."
Up next on the Pennsylvania native's docket is former title challenger Glover Teixeira (23-4), owner of 13 career knockouts. The Brazilian is coming off of a submission win over Ovince Saint Preux -- who stopped Cummins last April at UFC on FOX 15 -- and is 6-2 in UFC.
In addition to his excellence in boxing, Teixeira possesses an underrated and often underutilized wrestling game.
"I think one of his best wrestling attributes is his takedown defense. He's a tough guy to take down. He's a savvy guy," said Cummins. "I just think everything that I do -- every time I get into that wrestling situation, I'm going to have to earn it."
Despite being one of strongest grapplers in the division, Cummins isn't about to portray a simplified game plan when he faces Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 77 inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this weekend (Sat., Nov. 7, 2015).
Teixeira has endured his own share of problems with wrestlers -- notably against former titleholder Jon Jones -- but the key to victory, Cummins believes, will be "mixing up" his attack.
"Threatening with wrestling to striking, striking to the wrestling. Just really tying everything together and not getting sucked into just a slugfest," said Cummins. "If there's one thing you can't deny, Glover is just a tough guy."
Be on the lookout for my full-length interview with Patrick prior to UFC Fight Night 77 and for more on the complete "Belfort vs. Henderson 3" card click here.