Ramsey Nijem on Winning His Fight, Painting His Toenails

Ramsey Nijem stepped into the cage and won his fight against Charlie Rader on this week's episode of The Ultimate Fighter, using his solid wrestling base to control Rader, take him down and finish him with a rear-naked choke.

But this week's episode of the UFC's reality show focused almost as much on Nijem's personality outside the cage, where his habits -- including painting his toenails and watching Glee -- make him something very different from the stereotypical cage fighter.

In his weekly interview with MMAFighting.com, Nijem talked about his victory over Rader, shed a little more light on his personality outside the cage, and shared his thoughts on advancing to the next round of this season's Ultimate Fighter tournament.

Michael David Smith: How did you feel about the matchup when Junior told you he was picking you to fight Charlie Rader?
Ramsey Nijem: I was really confident. Junior was really confident and everyone on my team was. I was excited to go out and put on a show. I really thought I could finish the fight and I was happy be the first one on this season to finish a fight.

You were pressing him against the cage in the early going and then looking for a takedown. Was that your game plan?
Yeah, [assistant coach Lew Polley] really wanted us to wrestle. It was kind of boring at the beginning to put him on the fence and keep him there. I'm usually a more fun fighter to watch than that. But as soon as we hit the ground my plan was to get his back and choke him out, like what happened. I wasn't worried about him because I knew I could take him down.

Once you took Charlie's back on the ground you got the rear-naked choke in quickly. Is that a signature move of yours?
I think it would be any wrestler's signature move. it's not a hard move to pull off, especially since I'm good at back control. I'm good at grinding guys and eventually the choke will come -- it was easy.

You didn't seem to have much trouble with Charlie, but you looked like you were breathing hard afterward. Was cardio an issue, or was bronchitis still affecting you?
I was still a little sick. I was congested and not really feeling good, so I think that's what it was. I also think sometimes people don't realize how exhausting it is to jostle for position against the fence like that -- it might look boring but it's really tiring to wrestle for control on the cage.

Both Dana White and Brock Lesnar said they were disappointed in Charlie and thought he quit. Did you feel that way?
Once I had the choke in he quit and tapped out right away. I don't know what else he could have done, but I guess Dana would have liked him to fight a little more. But it was just a matter of time before I won the fight.

After the fight Lesnar said he saw the look in your eyes like you knew you were going to win, and he looked in Charlie's eyes and didn't see that confidence. Did you notice that?
Yeah, Charlie did look a little flat and tired, like he didn't want to be there. He was talking beforehand about how he really wanted the fight but sometimes people say that when they don't really want the fight.

We also learned more about you in the house. Guys were making fun of you for painting your toenails and watching Glee. What was that about?
I'm a quirky, weird dude. I've accepted that. I started painting my toenails as a tribute to John Hackleman, one of my coaches, because he does that. And I love the show Glee. It's an entertaining show. A lot of guys in our profession feel that they need to be hard asses all the time, but I like singing and dancing and having fun and being happy. That's the kind of show I like.

There was actually a segment on The Daily Show just last week in which Jon Stewart mentioned that Chuck Liddell paints his toenails. You're in good company.
That's Hackleman -- he got Liddell to paint his toenails. At first I didn't want to do it but Hackleman got me to do it too. But now that I've given it a try, I like getting pedicures. Me and my girlfriend will do it together, go out and get a pedicure and see a movie.

At the end of this episode, you had advanced to the next round of the tournament. Were you starting to think about who you might fight next?
Mostly I was just trying to get more comfortable, more acclimated to living in the house and more acclimated to the way we do things in the gym -- being on the show is a lot different than being at home and having a normal training camp before a fight. I felt like I performed well, but I wasn't really myself yet, and I was just looking forward to doing better, whoever I would fight in the next round.

(Editor's note: Ramsey Nijem will join us each week during Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter to share his thoughts on that week's episode. Follow Ramsey on Twitter @RamseyNijem.)

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