You might not know who Jaime Yager is yet, but fans definitely recognize his Afro. While his two knockout finishes on this season of “The Ultimate Fighter” have left an explosive impression inside the Octagon, Yager knew entering the reality show he had all the attributes to shine outside the cage as well.
“A lot of the guys think this is some type of gimmick or I’m portraying this, that and the other, or I’m trying to soak-up all this camera time, but the way it’s shown is how the editors edit it. It’s out of my hands,” Yager told 5thRound.com of his stint on TUF 11.
The talented 26-year-old quickly made a reputation for himself inside the TUF house with his outspoken personality. Although some have accused the middleweight of playing up to the lenses, as well as falsely stealing a teammate’s sweatshirt, Yager claims that what you see is what you get.
“I kept it real. If I didn’t like something someone said to me, I would tell them to their face. I don’t need to go run and hide and go tell other people behind someone’s back how I feel about them,” Yager said. “If you talk trash, I’m not going to wait until you’re not looking to talk [explicit] back.
“That’s not me. I think that I kept it real, that’s what ended up generating some drama.”
Although being himself took no time to plan out, Yager was fully cognizant that his poofy locks would garner distinguishability among his fellow castmates.
“Going into the tryouts, there were a lot of guys with shaved heads, a lot of guys with mohawks, but I was the only guy with a ‘fro,” Yager said of his competitive advantage. “So I was like, ‘Are you gonna cast 20 guys with shaved heads? Are you gonna cast 20 guys with mohawks?’
“The marketability that I bring to the table is going to set me aside – a little bit – from the other guys.”
It also didn’t hurt that he quickly disposed of both his opponents thus far in the TUF middleweight tourney – with one of the 1stRound finishes serving as his ticket into the house. Yager enters the Octagon tonight against undefeated Josh Bryant for a shot at the semifinals, leaving the victor only two wins away from the coveted six-figure UFC contract.
“I knew he was 10-0, but I didn’t really know too much about the guy,” Yager said of Bryant’s game. “I didn’t go into the fight with a superior gameplan about how exactly I was going to take him, but I went in there and fought my heart out.”
Don’t forget to catch Yager’s quarterfinals scrap with Bryant tonight on Spike TV beginning at 10PM/9C.
“I want to make sure to thank everyone around me that’s helped make this dream come true; Iridium Sports Agency, Kings MMA, Fight Academy, Savant Young, Rafael Cordeira, Dethrone, Adaptx, Knockout Wear and Toe2Toe,” a humble Yager said in closing.