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Irene Aldana discusses ‘big change’ in her fighting career ahead of UFC 228

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UFC 210 Weigh-ins

Irene Aldana’s life just got a little easier.

The UFC bantamweight joined forces with well-known nutritionist George Lockhart to guide the diet and weight cuts of her professional fighting career. Aldana, currently booked to fight Lucie Pudilova at Saturday’s UFC 228 event in Dallas, Texas, has never worked with a nutritionist leading up to fight. The Mexican fighter feels better than ever in preparation for Pudilova, and that’s largely due to adding a nutritionist to he camp.

“I feel super prepared, and I think till this day, this has been my best camp,” Aldana told MMA Fighting. “It’s been the smartest, the most planned camp. This is the first camp that I was able to do my diet with George Lockhart since the beginning of it, so I did feel a big change. I was able to perform well, I kept the weight that he asked for throughout the whole camp. I also had a lot of time to look at a lot of techniques, fix a lot of mistakes, and of course there is still a lot to learn, but I do feel super prepared and I felt like I evolved a lot in this preparation.”

Aldana made the connection with Lockhart in her previous UFC fight against Talita Bernardo back in January. She was contacted by Lockhart just to guide the final stages of her weight cut, as Lockhart was also going to be at UFC St. Louis. Having had a good experience with her weight cut, while also picking up her first UFC win, Aldana decided to do bring Lockhart on board her camps moving forward.

The move to bring on Lockhart wasn’t an obvious one since the Lobo Gym fighter hasn’t particularly had a history with rough weight cuts and has never missed weight in the UFC. Yet, Aldana can’t see herself going back to the way she used to manage her weight.

“My cuts haven’t been extremely hard, I mean, there is no pretty weight cut, but I did use to battle a little more with it than I do now,” Aldana explained. “I use to come in about three kilos (6.6 pounds) heavier and there were a lot of new details added to what we were already used to doing and you can tell that he (Lockhart) really knows, that he’s a professional.

“And yeah, the truth is that I can’t see my cuts without him anymore because I feel great. During my camp I never really felt a lack of energy, and I’m still eating the week of the fight. Many fighters stop eating when they get close to the cut and he doesn’t do that. He gives you plenty of food, even a day before the cut, so I do feel the difference a lot to be honest.”

Working with a nutritionist is just one of several factors that have contribute to what Aldana describes as a new stage of her fighting career. Aldana entered the UFC with plenty of promise being a former Invicta FC title challenger. However, things didn’t go as planned in her first two outings, losing decisions to Leslie Smith and Katlyn Chookagian.

Aldana believes those two defeats were needed for in her career.

“I feel my career a lot more professional and I do feel a lot more centered and focused,” Aldana said. “I feel like I’m more mature. I think I really needed those first fights because I really had very little ring time. The previous victories that I had before they had been fights that had lasted only seconds or two or three minutes of the first round. So those fights gave me the experience and they helped me focus a lot and measure the level of the UFC. Obviously the goal is to win and everyone wants to win, but one of the most important things for me is just give a good fight win or lose and that left me with a lot new knowledge, so I’m satisfied.”