Friday, May 23, 2014 | 6:30 p.m.
The buckets of fried chicken must have gone to waste.
Dan Henderson drew extensive laughs this week when he delivered a king’s portion of Popeye’s chicken to opponent Daniel Cormier’s workout room shortly after the two arrived in Las Vegas ahead of UFC 173. An episode of “UFC Embedded” captured the prank, which was meant to taunt the former heavyweight with his favorite food during his weight cut to light heavyweight.
“The chicken was a good idea,” Cormier said on a later episode. “I can’t deny chicken, but I did last night and I’m proud of myself.”
Cormier’s discipline paid off, as he came in right on the limit of 205 pounds at the UFC 173 weigh-in Friday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena before his co-main event bout with Henderson. Maybe Henderson should have considered repossessing the Popeye’s.
The 43-year-old legend is the one who could have used the extra bulk, as he came in at an abnormally low 199 pounds. Once Cormier rehydrates, he could weigh as much as 25 pounds more than Henderson when the two former Olympic wrestlers step into the octagon for Saturday’s pay-per-view.
The main card begins at 7 after preliminaries are shown on Fox Sports 1 and streamed online through UFC Fight Pass.
Bantamweight champion Renan Barao would project to have the size advantage in the main event, where he puts his belt at risk against T.J. Dillashaw. Both weighed in at the limit of 135 pounds Friday, but Barao was noticeably more drained.
Barao’s body was so emaciated he had to hold up his boxers so they wouldn’t slip off after stepping off the scale. His cheeks were also sunken in, and his cornerman handed him a bottle of water immediately after making weight.
Dillashaw looked more unaffected from his weight-cutting regimen.
“He’s like my past opponents,” Barao said through a translator in his final comments before the fight. “It makes no difference. I’m 100 percent ready to defend my belt.”
Barao inched less than a nose’s length away from Dillashaw when the two posed for a staredown photo. Dillashaw raised his fists and refused to flinch.
It was one of the two most intense face-offs along with the third-highest billed bout, a welterweight fight between Robbie Lawler (171) and Jake Ellenberger (171). Lawler and Ellenberger scowled at each other in close proximity, not even breaking face as they stepped backwards without as much as a handshake.
Barao and Dillashaw, on the contrary, embraced after their staredown.
“I’m hungry,” Dillashaw said. “I’ve got what it takes. I believe in myself, and I’m not scared.”
“Hungry” could literally describe the 24 fighters on the card Friday night after they all made weight. No chicken around the arena would spoil tonight.
Check below for full results from the UFC 173 weigh-in.
Bantamweight championship bout: Renan Barao (135) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (135)
Light heavyweight bout: Daniel Cormier (205) vs. Dan Henderson (199)
Welterweight bout: Robbie Lawler (171) vs. Jake Ellenberger (171)
Bantamweight bout: Takeya Mizugaki (135) vs. Francisco Rivera (135)
Lightweight bout: Jamie Varner (155) vs. James Krause (156)
Lightweight bout: Michael Chiesa (156) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (155)
Lightweight bout: Tony Ferguson (155) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (155)
Bantamweight bout: Chris Holdsworth (135) vs. Chico Camus (135)
Lightweight bout: Al Iaquinta (155) vs. Mitch Clarke (155)
Lightweight bout: Anthony Njokuani (155) vs. Vinc Pichel (155)
Featherweight bout: Sam Sicilia (146) vs. Aaron Phillips (145)
Welterweight bout: David Michaud (171) vs. Li JingLiang (170)