There has been no time like the present moment where diet and nutrition play such an important factor in the fight camp of an MMA athlete.
Is keto the right diet for an MMA fighter? Is vegan an acceptable diet? How's about the carnivore diet or the paleo diet? Do MMA athletes each sugar? Do they take protein? If so, what type? What other supplements do MMA fighters take?
One thing is evident, not all UFC fighters, or MMA athletes in general, are on the same level when it comes to being able to afford a chef and a nutritionist. One thing that all UFC fighters have though is access to the UFC Performance Institute (UFC PI) and access to freshly prepared meals and nutritionists, as it is in their interests for all UFC fighters to make weight and to do it healthily.
Let's take a look at some of the top UFC fighters and what their diet consists of:
An article from GQ all about GSP and how he changed his life through intermittent fasting with the help of Dr Jason Fung. I have heard many times that if Georges St-Pierre could go back and have a chat with his younger self, he would definitely advise him to fast.
Georges St-Pierre talks about this in-depth during his recent podcast with Lex Friedman (well worth a listen)
Here is a good read from Many of Many on Conor's diet.
Here is some more information from Pundit Arena:
This is a superb piece on Conor McGregor's nutrition and dieting plan that includes George Lockhart who has been working with the UFC athlete since taking over his nutrition and weight cuts from his long term coach John Kavanagh.
George Lockhart also covered Conor McGregor's eating habits and nutrition along with his weight cuts during an episode of the Joe Rogan podcast alongside John Kavanagh, it is well worth a listen:
You generally see UFC athletes fluctuate in shape and size in between events but Conor always seems to live that true martial arts lifestyle by consistently looking after his body all year round. Interestingly, during his fascinating rise to the top of the UFC, John Kavanagh just winged Conor's weight cuts with very basic but effective nutritional advice, which offers hope to all up and coming athletes when competing against the top tier that can afford to have personal chef's and nutritionists.
One article (from 2020) seems to suggest that Jon Jones eats a 90% plant-based diet (although that comes from an old IG post)
In this interview with TMZ, Jones discussions his plant-based eating in further detail:
ESPN have an interesting article online that interviews Jon Jones about his move up to heavyweight, but it doesn't really cover off his nutrition, so let's keep looking:
“It feels awesome to train heavy,” Jones said. “Good to eat whatever I want, obviously I’m on a great diet right now but get to eat tons of food, a lot of rest. Right now, I’m just living like a total athlete.
I think since moving up to heavyweight, Jon Jones is on an eat-a-thon. I can't find anything to suggest he is still on a plant-based diet.
There isn't a lot online for what Francis Ngannou's diet plan might look like. It is widely reported that his muscle mass is partly down to his time working in the sand mines of Cameroon
However, there is a really good podcast episode on below the belt where Francis Ngannou does cover off some of his diet and eating plan.
"I’ve always cooked for myself all through my career. I like to cook. But the higher you get in your career, the bigger the fight, the more stakes are on the line, and it makes it harder to cook for myself. I was looking for a convenient meal plan company that could step in to help me, but also make sure I was eating quality food."
That's a quote from Kamaru Usman discussing his eating routing and who he has partnered with to deliver his nutrition and eating plan now that there is so much at stake at every one of his title fights.
Here is the full article from muscleandfitness.com:
It looks like Rose has some wonderful eating habits, including Cannabis (but juices it!). Here is an article covering that bit:
Like Kamaru Usman's dieting, Rose Namajunas is partnered with Trifecta and here is a very handy breakdown of Rose's diet plan on Trifecta's own website.
There isn't a lot online about what Israel chooses to eat, however, there is an episode of Food Truck diaries which is food-focused:
There is also this article from health yogi but I am unsure as to how accurate this is:
More UFC fighters diet plan to come.