As a lightweight, Sage Northcutt says, the crucial part of his weight cut began 30 hours in advance of stepping on the scale.
Northcutt (10-2) will face Zak Ottow (16-5) in a welterweight bout at a UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Boise, Idaho. Northcutt's decision to move to 170 pounds came as a surprise, as he is 5-0 in the UFC as a lightweight and 0-2 as a welterweight.
The 22-year-old told ESPN he has physically matured since signing with the UFC at age 19 and did not wish to cut to 155 moving forward.
"I've always thought about welterweight," Northcutt said. "My last fight, the weight cut was pretty tough. It takes me 30 hours to make it, which sounds crazy. Most people will cut the night before, but it took me a whole day and a half -- running, sitting in the sauna. My body struggles to sweat that off."
Although Northcutt is winless in two welterweight appearances, he's not concerned about making 170 pounds his home. There were other factors behind those two losses.
His first fight at welterweight was in January 2016 on short notice. He was supposed to fight at lightweight, but his opponent withdrew the week of the fight. The UFC rebooked Northcutt against Bryan Barberena at welterweight, and he lost via submission.
Northcutt's next welterweight appearance came against Mickey Gall in December 2016. He suffered a submission loss in that bout as well, but Northcutt knows he's a far better martial artist now. It was after that loss he decided to move to Sacramento, California, and train full-time with Team Alpha Male.
"If you count the time I've had strictly training MMA, it's only been about 9 to 10 months -- the time I've spent with Team Alpha Male," Northcutt said. "Other than that, I've been going to school and training in a jiu-jitsu gym. As far as full-time MMA training, it's only been my time at Team Alpha Male."
Ottow, 31, has made it clear in interviews that he believes he's a step up in competition for Northcutt and he will take full advantage of Northcutt's decision to move up in weight.
Northcutt, who says he's never fought an opponent who wasn't older than him, isn't concerned.
"I think he's too slow for me and I don't think he'll be strong enough for me," Northcutt said. "I'm too explosive and I've been training super hard for this fight."