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The Russian lightweight endured a troubled build-up to his title fight against Justin Gaethje in October. It was Khabib's first fight since the death of his father and coach, Abdulmanap, and he secretly suffered a broken foot just three weeks before the event.
The first sign for many that Khabib was struggling physically was how drawn he looked on the scales at the weigh-in - and how relieved he was to make weight. Now a video has been released showing just how savage the weight cut to make 155lb was.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has released footage of his weight cut for #UFC 254.- Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) December 11, 2020
We've known for a long time that the cut is absolutely gruelling for him.
Seeing it, however, really rams it home. It's difficult viewing.
:movie_camera: via @TeamKhabib on YouTube pic.twitter.com/UzGo0ZHDTD
In the footage, a weakened Khabib is wearing multiple layers and doing painful, gruelling cardio on a treadmill. The aim is to sweat off those last few ounces so he can make weight.
His ashen-faced team throw down towels on the floor and, at one point, Khabib just falls face-first to the floor - his head resting on the towels.
Soon his team have to pick him back up again, as he can barely stand, so that he can get back to the grind.
Frankly, it's unbelievable that this man who can barely stand up under his own power was able to enter the Octagon and fight, after eventually making weight.
However, he did fight and win against Gaethje - via second-round submission - before surprisingly and emotionally retiring in the ring afterwards.
The admiration I have for these guys doing this can't even be put into words. https://t.co/b9NI7G8sqq- great white (@AlecHunna) December 12, 2020
Whoooooiee! That is grueling. Your body feeling like it can crash any minute.- Anthony Hernandez (@_PapaSalt) December 12, 2020
Jesus they need to ban weight cutting- Nick Donovan (@Donners1975) December 12, 2020
A promise to his mother that he wouldn't fight on without his father's guidance was the given reason for the Russian walking away with a perfect 29-0 record.
But having seen how hard making 155lb was for Khabib, it must be a relief to know he'll never have to endure doing this again.
Featured image credit: YouTube/Khabib Nurmagomedov