Ramsey Nijem Makes His Case for Jake Shields, Talks TUF Episode 5

Our weekly interview with The Ultimate Fighter cast member Ramsey Nijem includes not only a look at the fight that took place on this week's show -- Clay Harvison defeating Mick Bowman -- but also the fight that everyone in the MMA world is discussing this week, Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields at UFC 129.

Although he knows he's in the minority, Nijem is picking Shields. That's motivated in part by Nijem's status as one of Shields' training partners to help him get ready for the St. Pierre fight, but it's not just talk: Nijem says he put down some money on Shields.

Nijem also comments on this week's Ultimate Fighter episode. The full interview is below.

Michael David Smith: Before we get to this week's episode, let's talk about what every fan is talking about, Jake Shields vs. Georges St. Pierre. Who are you picking?
I've trained with Jake and I'm friends with him. Jake is one of the hardest-working dudes I've ever met in my life. I don't think GSP is going to be able to knock out or submit Jake, and Jake definitely has the advantage on the ground. If GSP keeps it standing he can win it by decision but I really believe that if they go to the ground Jake can sweep him and submit him or dominate him from the top. I really believe Jake's going to win. I even put 100 bucks on Jake -- that's a lot to me.

When you trained with Jake were you playing the role of GSP as a sparring partner?
When I rolled with Jake I was shooting in, trying to take him down, stay on top of him and control him like GSP does. I'm obviously not at GSP's level, but that's what I was trying to do. Jake is unreal when it comes to the ground game. In training Jake has been taking Phil Davis down and submitting him -- that's how good he is.

Are you looking at Jake and GSP and thinking, "That's where I'm going to be some day, fighting for the welterweight title"?
Yeah, that's everyone's goal -- if that's not your goal you're in the wrong sport. I don't want to be a sub-par fighter, I want to be the champ. That's the goal, and I feel like I have time to reach it. I'm only 23 and I have a lot of things I need to work on, but that's where I want to be some day.

As for this week's episode, the show started with the guys on Brock Lesnar's team complaining about him. Did you get wind of any of that, and did it make you happy you were on Team Dos Santos?
All of us on Junior's team realized as the show went on that we were lucky. I was glad to be on Junior's team because he was never negative, always positive, always friendly, never called me chickens--t like Brock was calling his guys. It made me grateful to have such a good guy as my coach.

There was a suggestion on this week's episode that maybe Chris Cope was a traitor on Team Lesnar and he had given you Charlie Rader's game plan before you fought him on last week's episode. Any truth to that?
No, no truth to that at all. Everyone was suspicious of Chris because he was acting like it was Survivor -- he was getting all sneaky and trying to figure everything out. He thinks he's smart, spying on people and getting information, but we knew what he was doing the whole time. We knew he was sneaking around, listening in on us, asking us things about our training.

Junior chose Mick Bowman to take on Clay Harvison, and Harvison won by unanimous decision after two rounds. What did you think of the fight?
It was tough. Mick is a great boxer from Wolfslair but like a lot of the guys from Europe, he lacks a wrestling base. Junior thought it would be good to put Mick up against another stand-up fighter, but Clay came out to fight and Mick came out looking bad -- it seemed like he was scared. Clay did what he had to do to win.

(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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