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Weight specialist: 'Stronger, 'faster' Johny Hendricks is going to 'break his opponents'

Check out this interview with Louis Giordano, who talks about his partnership with the former UFC Welterweight champion, as well as what the expectations are for "Bigg Rigg" on his weight-management system.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Some mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters have had a falling out with their nutritionist. It's happened numerous times.

But, sometimes it's also the fighter's decision.

Weight-cutting is a dangerous process that has led to poor performances for several Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) combatants. It can also be grounds for dismissal from the promotion ... or banishment from a weight class.

The way in which fighters make weight has also become more cloudy because of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's controversial ban on intravenous hydration. Luckily, we have a newcomer to the nutrition game in MMA, who's offering up free consultations to well-known warriors like former UFC Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.

That man is Louis Giordano, a weight-management specialist employed by fighters such as No. 5-ranked Bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling. Giordano has spent more than 15 years working with celebrities, as well as college- and high school-level athletes.

Giordano, who has also helped former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 winner Eddie Gordon make the move from Light Heavyweight down to Middleweight (he's in the process of making 171 pounds now for a bout in Titan FC), will be coaching Hendricks through his next cut.

"Bigg Rigg" has pushed his body to the brink on more than one occasion, which arguably cost him his 170-pound strap. It's gotta be the meat, Hendrick says.

Nevertheless, Hendricks' appetite and frequency of letting his weight balloon past the 200-pound threshold has made past weight cuts very difficult, but that's more than likely to change with Giordano in the fold.

Here's his assessment of the Texas-based fighter's last cut to the Welterweight limit.

"He made it public that he loves venison. Red meat produces creatine -- our bodies naturally produce creatine. It helps the muscle absorb nutrients. Our muscles are about 70 percent water. If I can get more water into the muscles -- if I can trap more nutrients in the muscle, my muscle is going to appear fuller. Not necessarily leaner, or stronger, but fuller ... What Johny was doing, was not only was he eating it every day, his ounces per serving was very high as well. He was eating too much and his muscles started to trap and hold onto that water. When he cut the way that he did for the Tyron Woodley fight, his muscles said you're not going to get the water from here, you're going to start pulling it from other places, his kidney's got taxed and he ended up having kidney stones."

Indeed, Hendricks paid a steep price in his mishandling of the cut for his UFC 192 co-main event spot opposite Tyron Woodley last October, which irked his boss, UFC President Dana White.

Though White has been quick to send fighters up a weight class when they tip the scales heavy, this was still technically the first time Hendricks ever missed weight. Once he partnered up with the New Jersey-based Giordano, UFC brass contacted Hendricks, who is now checking in at around 195 pounds.

Giordano's ultimate goal is to get Hendricks down to a "healthy" 185 pounds and then await word from UFC on his next opponent.

The whole process began in late November when Giordano went out to visit the Hendricks family in Texas and meet with some of his coaches. He spent four days outlining the parameters of his weight-management methods, and dispelling a majority of "lies" that the "vain" health and fitness industry produces.

"I don't hold back information," Giordano said. "I don't do smoke and mirrors. What I do is I explain my theories, not just tell you what we're going to do. I support recommendations with facts and logic."

He believes that there's no attention being put toward how clients feel internally, which is exactly what he focuses on in his five-step system.

  • Phase 1: Stabilization. Let them compose a food journal for two weeks preferably. Pinpoint certain cravings, how many calories are eaten in a day. We look to clean some things up. Make sure they're having complete meals/snacks. Has to consist of a protein, carbohydrate and a fat.
  • Phase 2: Start cleaning things up. Instead of having a lot of sugar in certain areas, we're making sure you're getting more fiber and cleaning up fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Phase 3: Complement your workouts with your food as well. Post-workout meals and shakes.
  • Phase 4: Getting down in weight, while keeping your strength and energy levels up.
  • Phase 5: You're required to eat a certain amount of food.

The above is just a rough -- and very brief -- nutshell of Giordano's method and the proof is in the pudding. Although Gordon didn't win in his Middleweight debut against Antonio Carlos Jr., "Truck" appeared to be in the best shape of his life when he faced off with the scale back in June.

"If you look at Eddie on the scale and look at some of these other fighters, you see dehydration, faces sunken in almost in like a skeleton appearance. Then there's Eddie flexed out screaming, healthy and happy," Giordano said.

For Giordano, that's a victory in itself -- considering Gordon once weighed north of 220 pounds -- and a testament to where he will be able to take Hendricks' body under his guidance, which will be on display in the Octagon soon against Karate striker Stephen Thompson at UFC 196 on Feb. 6, 2016.

"You're going to see a faster, more stronger Johny Hendricks because he's not going to have the mental stress of having to worry about so many things," Giordano said. "What you will see on the scale is a leaner, more healthier Johny Hendricks and you will also see him break his opponents because he's not going to get tired."

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