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Move to Welterweight Significantly Improved Don Madge’s Enjoyment of Fight Week



Don Madge doesn’t dread fight week anymore.

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When he began his career as a lightweight, that wasn’t necessarily the case for the South Africa native, who will face Neiman Gracie at PFL 6 in a regular season bout at welterweight on Friday night. After scoring a first-round submission of Brennan Ward on April 19, Madge sits atop the 170-pound standings heading into the second regular season event.

“Ah man, the weight cuts to the lightweight were like savage,” Madge said during a PFL media day. “I've kind of spoken about it now that I've made the move up, but I would do maybe [26 to 28 pounds] in a week, you know, like, stupid amounts… But yeah man, the move up to welterweight [was] something that I've been like juggling with for a long time. I just never felt like I needed to do it because I was still winning at lightweight.

“Especially for this the season format, we fight so often that doing those gigantic weight cuts just don't make any sense. I feel incredible at welterweight, my body's carrying the weight well. I definitely don't feel undersized against any other guys, so this is definitely where I'm going to be staying.”

While the rigors of competing multiple times in a season make extreme weight cutting even more difficult, Madge believes there’s something to be said for feeling healthy no matter what format a fighter competes in.

“I think a lot of fighters could possibly jump up a division — and a lot of fighters do — and they do a lot better,” Madge said. “And it's because of that feeling healthy, being able to like feel your training camps and feel your fight weeks and not walk around like a skeleton and a zombie all day.

“It's made a huge difference to me and even just like my enjoyment of fight week — usually I f—king hate it, but I've been enjoying it a lot now, so I'm really, really happy with the decision I made.”

The only thing that could make fight week even more enjoyable is a victory over Gracie. Madge won’t deny that there’s an added appeal to beating someone with that prestigious name.

“Yeah, I mean, it's incredible. That's actually why I was happy with the matchup,” Madge said. “Obviously stylistically I think it makes a really good matchup for me but also just the legacy parts of being that it's the family that started MMA, basically. So to be able to step in the cage with him and share that moment with each other I think will be incredible.”
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