Some believe cutting weight is a science. Others believe it is an art. But regardless of which side you take, there’s no denying it is difficult.

For UFC welterweight Court McGee, who will make his third appearance at 170 pounds against Ryan LaFlare on Dec. 14 at UFC on Fox 9, it has been a learning experience, to say the least.

“It definitely takes more dedication to the nutritional side of things; a lot less food,” he said with a laugh in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I hired Perfecting Athletes. They’re nutritionists, and they give me a variety of things I can do.

“The last three or four weeks are still a struggle sometimes, but it’s gone really well. Sometimes the hardest things you go through are the best. You have to make that sacrifice, especially when you’re fighting at this level.”

McGee (R) delivers a knee (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

McGee (R) delivers a knee (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

While the Utah native has picked up two straight wins since dropping down from middleweight, he admits the process wasn’t without its ups and downs.

“The very first time, it was difficult to even have energy,” he revealed. “I just had to keep working with my nutritionists. It was difficult for the few months; it even is now. It’s a lot less food. It’s hard to get full on vegetables and fruit, but you can do it. You’re just not full for that long.

“It’s been a good learning experience. It has helped me outside of fighting as well. I change it up. My wife and my two boys are in camp with me a bit. All around, it’s been good. I’ve worked out all the quirks.”

In McGee’s most recent Octagon appearance, he squared off with fellow Ultimate Fighter winner Robert Whittaker. McGee edged out the Aussie via split decision, but walked out with more than a victory.

“Never, ever, ever stop. Always work hard cause one day you’ll fight a guy like that,” McGee quipped. “It’s the subtle differences that make the biggest impact in a fight. Having great conditioning, great coaches and great training partners is key, cause that guy was really good.”

The win lined up McGee against TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum, but the Arizona fighter was forced out with a knee injury. That led to LaFlare stepping in on just a month’s notice.

“I don’t know much about him,” admitted McGee. “I did have a chance to see some of his fight in Brazil, but I don’t watch any footage. I don’t research the guy I’m fighting. I had a fight where I knew a guy would gas out after the first round and I really tried to push the pace, and he did. But I also had a fight where a guy who I thought was going to gas out actually got stronger as the fight went on.

“You just never know any more. Fights get canceled, guys pull out half way through the camp. You get wrestlers or BJJ guys that come out and punch the whole time or strikers who shoot the whole time. I try as best as I can to prepare for anybody and everybody, that way I’m ready to go no matter who it is. I don’t come out with a specific game plan for one particular fighter.”

McGee (R) connects with a kick (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

McGee (R) connects with a kick (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Instead of countless hours in the film room, McGee’s attention has turned to the single most important aspect of being a fighter: his own skill set.

“I keep trying to improve as a martial artist, rather than focus on what this guy does well, or what that guy does well. When it comes time to fight, whomever it may be, I’m ready to show up and compete against anybody in the 170-pound division,” declared the 30-year-old. “I’m not trying to get better for one specific guy; I’m trying to get better as an athlete.”

If McGee exits the cage on Saturday with a win over LaFlare, he’ll have put together a three-fight winning streak inside what many consider to be the most crowded division in the UFC. With his diet on track, could a title shot be in his near future?

“I’m not in control of fight picks or where people are [in the division],” said the fighter. “It definitely puts me on the radar up there with the best of them. I feel like I can compete with anybody in the world. What’s important to me is not that I can compete with them, but that I can beat them.

“This whole camp, I focused on getting better and getting faster. I don’t have control over anything else but being the best Court McGee I can be. I don’t want to look too far ahead and waste energy on that. Anything can happen. People get injured all the time. I saw a guy slip and fall during his weight cut and get knocked out. I want to stay focused and make sure my diet is on point. If you don’t make weight, you don’t fight. Or you lose a bunch of money and look like a fool.”

Although he’s currently focused on what happens on Saturday night, don’t be surprised if McGee’s appetite soon includes UFC gold.

Court would like to thank his friend, Marcus Luttrell, and encourages everyone to go see his movie, “Lone Survivor.” He’d also like to thank Will and Heather Farrar with VA Mortgage Leader for helping him pursue a dream with their generosity. Finally, all of his fans, family and friends for their support. Follow McGee on Twitter: @Court_McGee

Top Photo: Court McGee (R) lands a kick (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)