There may be no tougher profession within the sporting world than that of a mixed martial artist. They have to master a number of skills: striking, kick-boxing, groundwork, takedown defence, submission tactics. These all require working within different realms: boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, the list goes on and on. Their careers hinge on wins, and catching a lucky punch could spell disaster in a split second. They train relentlessly, to fight other doppelgängers, hoping to come out on top in a sport that has next to nothing in terms of mercy. On top of all this, there is the exhausting, debilitating act of cutting weight for a fight. Usually around a week before a bout, fighters start restricting their diet, and dehydrating their bodies. For some, this runs right up until the official weigh in, where some will throw up just before getting on the scale to drop that final pound or two. The horror stories are plentiful, and we got another one this past weekend to add to the pile. Bobby Green, who was supposed to fight Jim Miller, collapsed backstage before UFC 258 in Las Vegas trying to get down to 155 pounds (70kg) for the lightweight division. The fight was pulled as Green was in no condition to enter the Octagon. This is a common occurrence in the UFC, and fighters have accepted it as part of the game – or have they? Israel Adesanya, the UFC’s middleweight champion , is moving up a weight class to fight Jan Blachowicz , who holds the light heavyweight belt, at UFC 259 on March 7, and it presents an interesting case study. Adesanya normally fights at 185lbs (84kg), but he said on Joe Rogan’s podcast a few years ago his “walk around weight” is about 203lbs (92kg). The light heavyweight division limit is 205lbs (93kg), which means Adesanya won’t be hitting the sauna much in the lead up to his fight. This is obviously not the first time a fighter has moved up a weight class and tried fighting at their normal weight. The results have been mixed. UFC: Adesanya has ‘no need to bulk right up’ for Blachowicz But Adesanya is one of the first big name fighters to do so in the modern era in a title fight. His dietitian Jordi Sullivan spoke to SCMP MMA about the new tactic and how the New Zealander can train normally and follow a less restrictive diet: “He’s kinda got the liberty now, you don’t have to be like that. You’ll still need to eat well, but every single session you can eat like it’s a barnburner performance session, whereas it’s not like a session we need to pull back some calories. “You can go hard every single session which is, to me – if he’s performing like he is where he’s underfeeding certain sessions and over-fuelling only particular ones, what’s he gonna be like on a full camp when he’s just absolutely fuelled to the rim and he’s coming out swinging?” MMA junkies will be paying close attention for a number of reasons. Will Adesanya have an extra ounce of energy, or another gear, to tap into given he is not coming off days of depleting his body? Or will Blachowicz, who reportedly walks around at least 15 pounds over the maximum weight, at 99 kg, overpower “The Last Stylebender”? Usually both fighters are cutting weight in a fight, which means they both have to go through the difficult process of dropping pounds, knowing they will be facing another fighter doing the same. Blachowicz will have to go through this process leading up to fight week. If Adesanya destroys Blachowicz you can bet your bottom dollar pundits will point to this as one of the main reasons. Jon Jones’ move up to heavyweight is another example of a fighter playing around with his weight looking for maximum benefit. The former light heavyweight champion, who vacated his belt last August, has been hitting the squat rack and the dinner table putting on muscle for a tentative bout against the winner of Stipe Miocic’s heavyweight championship defence against Francis Ngannou, which will take place on March 27. Jones has said in interviews he used to walk around somewhere at 230 pounds (104kg), and would cut drastically down to make light heavyweight. Of course this never hampered his game – he is largely considered one of the UFC’s greatest fighters of all-time. But what happens when he goes the other way? The UFC’s heavyweight division caps fighters at 265 pounds (120kg), and Miocic walks around at 240, which means he doesn’t cut weight at all to make the scale. Jones said he is hoping to hit 240lbs as well, but this will be his first fight at such a heavy weight. If Miocic is handed an upset by Ngannou, Jones will have to square off against an even bigger beast. Ngannou reportedly has to cut weight to make 265 pounds, which is a staggering thought. Fans will be watching these two fights with special attention. Cutting weight has always been seen as a necessary evil in the fight game, but now the tide may be turning, and fighters might be looking up weight classes for extra edges in the Octagon. Time will tell if this incredibly difficult profession could possibly get a bit easier for fighters, as they forgo weight cutting and “walk around weight” fights start becoming more common.