Last June, Court McGee stormed onto the Octagon scene by winning “The Ultimate Fighter 11” tournament and securing a future with the world’s premier MMA promotion. Fast forward 12 months and the middleweight is now serving as a big brother to Ramsey Nijem in his pursuit of a six-figure UFC contract.
“[Ramsey] was the last person there training with me when I left for the [TUF] house, and so I’m the last one here training with him when he’s getting ready to fight in the Finale,” McGee told 5thRound of his unique bond with Nijem. “He’s not doing anything different than I did. He shows up to practice every day, on time like he’s supposed to.
“That’s hard work, dedication, perseverance and this is what you get – you get in the Finale, you get the big fights.”
Nijem meets Tony Ferguson in the finals Saturday night at “The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale.” Some fanboys have dubbed the battle a ‘Good Guy vs. Bad Guy’ matchup. Nijem was the easy-going jokester on the reality show, while Ferguson was clearly not the most popular kid on campus.
Funny guys are handy to have around when you’re searching for a good laugh, but most would prefer Ferguson’s all-business personality when it comes to stepping into the cage for a fight. McGee suggests fans better not judge this book by its cover.
“[Ramsey’s] dedicated, he’s intense. He is lighthearted, I’m a whole lot more serious than him, but what you saw on the show is exactly how he is,” McGee shared. “It’s good because he lightens up the room, he lightens up the mood.
“When it comes time to fight, though, he’s 100 percent there and he’s ready to fight. I can tell you right now, this is the best Ramsey you’ve ever seen.”
That should be a good thing, because most fans haven’t seen much of the up-and-coming welterweight. Nijem holds a 4-1 professional record, not including the three impressive finishes he posted during his tenure on TUF 13.
Although filming wrapped for the show several weeks ago, it has been easy for McGee to keep Nijem’s priorities in check – especially since they see each other every day at The Pit.
“’Stay focused, you gotta keep your eye on the prize,’” McGee advised his training buddy. “If you’re not focused, you’re going four different ways. That’s why we got John Hackleman and Jason Mertlich as our coaches, because they keep us focused.
“We don’t mess around and we don’t play around when it comes time to fight. When it’s time to fight, it’s time to fight. This is a career, this is for the money. This gives you an opportunity to do what you love to do for a living.”
Nijem takes his first steps towards superstardom tomorrow night inside the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fortunately for the 23-year-old, he’s following someone that already knows the path to the winner’s circle.