Georges St-Pierre’s nutrition coach Dr. John Berardi says that if the UFC welterweight champion ever decides to move up to middleweight and fight Anderson Silva, he can ensure weight differential won’t be an issue.
The talk of a super-fight between GSP and Silva has been ongoing for years and although the subject has subsided slightly of late, the topic simply won’t go away because many fans, including UFC president Dana White, want to one day see that fight.
One of the many obstacles the UFC would have to overcome to set up the biggest matchup in UFC history would be to decide what weight it would take place at.
Some think Silva should cut to the welterweight limit of 170 pounds, some argue a catchweight of 178 pounds would be best, while others think GSP could and should move to the 185-pound middleweight division.
On multiple occasions St-Pierre has said he has difficulty gaining weight, but Berardi says there is a healthy and scientific way for GSP to gain enough weight that he can comfortably walk around at about 210 pounds and then cut down to 185 pounds to face Silva in a middleweight bout.
“Not only am I someone who works with MMA and UFC athletes, I’m actually a fan myself. So, I hear it all the time when I listen to fight media, people talking about, ‘ah Georges can’t gain that weight, Anderson is just too big,’ and that sort of thing and obviously the height differential is something important, but weight differential is easily overcome,” Berardi told Showdown Joe Ferraro on the latest episode of UFC Central Radio on Sportsnet 590 the Fan.
“I was with Georges not too long ago in Montreal and we were talking about this and I called him aside and I just told him, ‘Look, if this fight happens, the weight thing is something you’re not going to have to worry about. I’ll just come up (to Montreal), we’ll spend a week together, I’ll show you what to do.’ Six months later, we’ll have him walking around at 210. It’s not a problem,” added Berardi, the founder of Precision Nutrition, the world’s largest online nutrition coaching company.
Berardi, a friend of GSP’s strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Chaimberg, was first introduced to St-Pierre in Las Vegas in January 2009 just before GSP’s UFC 94 headlining bout with BJ Penn – which was a bona fide super-fight since GSP was the welterweight champ and Penn was the lightweight champ at the time.
From that initial meeting on, Berardi was adopted by GSP’s team including Chaimberg and Tristar Gym head trainer Firas Zahabi, who invited him to help with GSP’s diet. He’s been with him ever since.
“I think when we talk about things like weight-cutting and using a scientific process and in particular the idea of moving up a weight class in a way where you gain nothing but muscle strength and size without any excess body fat, and using just a really scientific approach, it’s really, really cool stuff,” Berardi said. “It’s what I went to school for, it’s what I do every day, it’s what I get really excited about.”
Berardi has been involved in health, fitness and athletics for most of his adult life and has worked with many amateur and professional athletes. In fact, in the last three Olympics alone, athletes he has worked with have won a combined 30 medals -- 15 of them gold.
He explained that him and his team have experimented with the potential nutrition program he’d put GSP on in order for the Saint-Isidore, Que., native to compete at 185 pounds.
“I think it’s worth saying – because a lot of people’s heads will go there – this is completely drug free, not taking any hormonal supplements, none of that kind of thing. It’s just using scientific nutrition.”
Berardi said he successfully used this program while working with a Taekwondo black belt named Nate and he says in 30 days they helped him gain 20 pounds of lean mass and his strength went through the roof.
“There’s a lot of non-conventional stuff (in the program),” Berardi explained. “We use something called calorie cycling where some days are super high calories and other days are lower calories and even one day a week – and this is what blows people’s minds – we actually have him fast, where Sundays he doesn’t eat anything at all.
“I’m very confident that (St-Pierre’s) strength and power would increase, his lean mass would increase, you’d see next to no fat gain and he could pound-for-pound be the sort of same walking around weight as Anderson Silva, in terms of lean mass.”
Berardi also said they’ve studied what a potential weight cut for GSP would be like if he bulked up to around 210 pounds. He believes GSP’s cut to 185 would be easier than the current cut he makes to get to 170 pounds from a walking weight of around 190 pounds.
“The truth is the more lean mass you have the more water you have in your body,” Berardi said. “Muscle mass is about 70 per cent water so that’s why guys that are naturally more lean and more muscular can cut more easily and you see that in the UFC.
“In Georges’ case, it’s a big a big question mark to whether this fight will happen … but if it were to happen and he were to go up to 210-ish I think the cut would be easier.”