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Luana Santos explains how Hashimoto’s disease led to massive weight miss, under control for UFC Denver

Luana Santos’ recent weight miss has an explanation.

The Brazilian fighter came in three pounds over the bantamweight limit for her fight with Stephanie Egger this past December, stepping to the scale at 139 pounds. In an interview with MMA Fighting, she explained that the miss was due to an autoimmune disease.

Santos, who returns to the cage in a 125-pound clash with Mariya Agapova at UFC Denver next Saturday, said in an interview with MMA Fighting that she was diagnosed with a thyroid issue called Hashimoto’s disease during a trip to Brazil last year, months after her successful UFC debut. Initially, she thought it was no big deal.

“I had no idea what it was and if it would have any impact so I didn’t care one bit about it,” Santos said. “I thought it would be nothing, and then my weight started going up and up. My manager called in late November saying he had a fight booked and I told him I would not make 125, but we could do it at 135 if my opponent was down for it. [Egger] agreed, and I had three weeks to make 135. I weighed 163 pounds at the time.

“I thought it would be hard but I would be able to make it. It was the craziest three-week span of my life. I didn’t make weight in the end, but I thought it was due to some other issue. I got too tired in the fight as well, and my hair was falling as well, and I had no idea it was due to the thyroid problem.”

Santos defeated Egger and returned to Brazil in January for more exams, during which a physician once again detected an issue with the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that can lead to weight gain, depression, fatigue and pain, as well as the hair loss that Santos noticed.

“The doctor said my weight would go up again because my thyroid gland wasn’t working,” Santos said. “The levels were way higher than it should be, and some vitamins were low, and I had to start taking medication to control my thyroid. There’s no cure, I’ll have to take this medication forever. I went all the way up to 168 pounds, 42 pounds over my division.”

Santos said the UFC is aware of her condition, and that’s why she was offered a match in Denver with enough time to prepare to make 125 pounds again. The 24-year-old Brazilian said she currently weights 136 pounds, on point for this moment of her camp.

“My thyroid is OK now but I’ll have to continue on medication and watch my diet,” Santos said. “My health is better, as well as my energy. I didn’t fell like training before, I just wanted to lay in bed and do nothing. I was afraid at first, especially because it was something new. I didn’t know if the medication would work or not, but my doctors explained everything to me and that calmed me down.”

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