UFC Vegas 47’s Jason Witt’s Secret Weapon: Sleep.

Jason Witt UFC
Jason Witt, UFC Vegas 33 Weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

At just 1-2 in the UFC, and 34-years old at the time, Jason Witt stepped into the cage with fan-favorite Bryan Barberena. Witt was a sizeable underdog in the fight, not just because of Barberena’s fan base, but Witt himself was coming off of a lightning quick KO loss at the hands of Matthew Semelsberger.

While it seemed like the odds were stacked against him, Witt put the pedal to the metal and came out on top. In a fight that found a way to be both grueling and exciting for fans to watch, Witt not only turned his career around, but took home an extra 50k for his troubles. It was the biggest moment of his career by far.

“That fight meant everything. It was one of those fights where if I lose I’m 1-3 in the UFC, I’m probably going to get cut, and I’m pretty much retiring at that point,” Witt admitted. “I don’t want to go back to the local scenes. I don’t want to fight anymore after that. So to win that fight – I got a four-fight contract and a fight of the night bonus – that has to be the pinnacle of my career.”

The huge change in performance may have come at a surprise to some. However, it wasn’t a surprise to Witt, who realized one really important thing prior to the fight camp for Barberena – he wasn’t sleeping enough. An entrepreneur with a few businesses he runs, Witt was burning the candle at both ends.

“I own a personal training studio, where I live at,” he said. “I was waking up at 4am and running classes until 9am. Then I’d go to training and then go back, and then I go back to training. I wouldn’t get home until 10 o’clock. As much as I was training, I just wasn’t getting enough sleep to recover at all.”

This fact was backed up by the fine folks at the UFC Performance Institute, who ran some tests on “The Vanilla Gorilla” and has some tough words for him regarding his body.

“It really took a toll on my body. I went to the Performance Institute and they told me ‘hey, man, you’re pretty much the most stressed athlete we have on the roster. You have to do something to change it,” Witt said. “So even just adding two hours a night, fourteen hours a week, really made a huge difference.”

So with that extra sleep, he was able to train harder, and have more stamina in the fight. And he thinks that’s going to be something we’re going to continue to see from here on out.

“You obviously saw the outcome of me getting more sleep, me resting more, me taking care of my body better in the Barberena fight,” he pointed out.

He’ll look to put his new sleep schedule to work against Philip Rowe at UFC Vegas 47. That fight will take place on the ESPN+ prelims, which kick off at 4pm EST.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 32:05. 


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