UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced to strip off but tipped the scales at 155lbs to make his title fight with Justin Gaethje official for Saturday at UFC 254.
The undefeated champion was first on the scales in Abu Dhabi, hitting his mark but with the aid of a towel.
The relief was evident as the Russian held his face in his hands after seeing he had made weight, before he posed for the cameras and stepped away from the scales.
The Dagestani grappling phenom has suffered weight-cut woes in the past, being hospitalized before his planned bout with Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 back in 2017.
Gaethje followed Khabib onto the scales in Abu Dhabi and appeared far more relaxed as the American made the mark with the minimum of fuss, officially setting up Saturday’s octagon showdown on Yas Island.
Khabib then donned his trademark ‘papakha’ headwear for a final face-off with Gaethje which, in keeping with the amiable build-up to the fight, passed off without incident.
Elsewhere on the card, Alex Oliveira came in two pounds heavy for his welterweight contest with Shavkat Rakhmonov, and will forfeit a portion of his fight purse for the bout to go ahead.
Spain’s Joel Alvarez missed weight by 3.5 pounds for his lightweight prelims contest with Alexander Yakovlev, and will likewise give up part of his purse.
All the other fighters hit their marks – including new UFC signing Michael Chandler, who weighed in at 155lbs and is back-up should either Khabib or Gaethje be forced out of Saturday’s match-up, which now seems unlikely.
Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier made their co-main event middleweight bout official, with Whittaker tipping the scales at 186 pounds and Cannonier weighing in at 185 pounds.