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At 31, UFC fighter Eddie Gordon learns how to eat healthy

Freeport's Eddie Gordon reacts after losing a split

Freeport's Eddie Gordon reacts after losing a split decision to Chris Dempsey in a middleweight bout at UFC on FOX 15 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on April 18, 2015. Photo Credit: Mario Gonzalez

Eddie Gordon wears two types of jeans -- his "everyday living" jeans and his "weigh-in" jeans. They are significantly different sizes.

As the UFC middleweight continues his physical transformation from a thick 230 pounds to a lean 200-pounder in everyday life, he's going to need a third pant style: skinny jeans.

"My waist has never been this small since like seventh or eighth grade," said Gordon, 31, of Freeport.

The slimmed-down Gordon returns to the octagon on Saturday against Antonio Carlos Junior at UFC Fight Night in Hollywood, Florida. The bout airs on the main card beginning at 10 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

An MMA fighter's walk-around weight outside of training isn't the most critical number in this sport. But, it can speak to a fighter's overall condition.

Gordon, the Season 19 winner of "The Ultimate Fighter," said he used to cut around 20 pounds in the final 24 hours before weigh-ins for a fight. Though that number is high, it sounds far more outrageous outside the MMA bubble than inside. Gordon dropped around that much before his last fight in April at the Prudential Center in Newark. On fight night, he looked sluggish as the fight went into the second and third rounds. Gordon lost a split decision to Chris Dempsey.

"My body was there, but my mind wasn't," Gordon said. "I wasn't the same me."

Lessons can be learned in losing, and not just from watching the action inside the octagon over and over again. For Eddie "Truck" Gordon, that lesson came the following morning while standing on a scale.

He weighed 221 pounds.

"I called the nutritionist that day," Gordon said. "At that point, I gotta address this immediately. I don't want it to get out of control. From that point on, I've been harassing Lou left and right every day."

Lou is Lou Giordano, a weight management specialist based in New Jersey who Gordon was referred to by one of his sponsors for the fight.

Giordano watched Gordon's fight last April said he could tell within the first 45 seconds that Gordon would tire sooner than later.

The two met the next morning and mapped a new approach to eating. Really, a new way of life for the former defensive lineman at Fordham.

Since then, it's been text message after phone call after text message after phone call.

"He's not allowed to eat anything without sending me a picture of it first," Giordano said.

Gone is the coffee and the bigger portions of meals, replaced by an all-natural menu with smaller and more frequent meals. For Giordano, though, the key is about the right percentages of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

"It seemed like a lot of food," Gordon said. "I was actually eating more meals, but lesser portions. That was my big thing before. I'd eat my food, my kids' leftovers, my girlfriend's food, everything. I'm like, as long as it's healthy, I'm doing the right thing. I figured I'll burn it, I work out like crazy. Why not?"

Well, because cutting 10 percent of body weight, even if it's mostly water, in a short amount of time can take its toll on someone whose job depends on being in peak physical condition at the most critical time.

Gordon (8-3, 1-2 UFC) arrived in Florida on Tuesday for his fight against Junior (5-1, 1-1), the "TUF Brazil" Season 3 winner. He weighed 192 when he got there, he said. The next morning, he said he was at 189.

"I feel amazing," Gordon said. "My biggest fear was that I'm not going to be this 230-pound guy anymore, I'm not going to be strong, I'm not going to be 'Truck' any more. It's actually the complete opposite."


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