Despite Physique, UFC Vegas 71’s Brady Hiestand Lighter Than Ever

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Brady Hiestand and Fernie Garcia, UFC Vegas 65
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 19: (L-R) Brady Hiestand punches Fernie Garcia in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

When he appeared on The Ultimate Fighter, Brady Hiestand was casted as the youngster in a house full of veterans. The then 22-year old quickly proved that it was silly to overlook him because of how young he was and looked. His run to the finals included wins over veterans in Josh Rittenhouse and Vince Murdock, and showed just how tough he was.

After his narrow loss in the finale, Hiestand worked to shed that image of a youngster – both literally and physically. He came into his second UFC fight with Fernie Garcia noticeably bigger looking, but surprisingly not any bigger.

“You know the funny part is that I was actually smaller,” Hiestand explained. “I was just more in shape and, I guess, ripped at that point because I had been working with an actual [strength and conditioning] coach. I had been training the right way. I had been working out the right way.”

Some of this was a known need to get stronger in one of the UFC’s most difficult divisions. The other reason was because making the UFC gave him the time and financial security to do so.

“Before that I was a firefighter – I was a resident firefighter working ten shifts a month,” he said. “So I wasn’t able to put my full into the sport. Now, after getting off of the Ultimate Fighter and had money to buy my own house – I was able to invest myself fully into training.”

Now fully invested in creating the best version of himself in camp, Hiestand continues to improve in those areas. If his last fight was any indication, it’ll lead to a miniscule cut come Friday and allow him to not have to drain himself at all.

“In total I think I cut, after water loading, the morning of, I only cut three pounds,” Hiestand said. “I only spent one 20 minute session in the bathtub and then one 15 minute session wrapped up in towels – then I was underweight.”

The now-lighter Hiestand looks to show off that ‘slimmer’ form and improved cardio as he takes on Danaa Batgerel at UFC Vegas 71. That fight will air on the ESPN+ prelims, which start at 4pm EST.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 1:13.

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