Ramsey Nijem on Being The Ultimate Fighter's 'Kid to Beat'

After Ramsey Nijem needed less than a minute to finish Clay Harvison in their fight on Episode 8 of The Ultimate Fighter, UFC President Dana White offered some high praise.

White called Nijem's rear-naked choke, "the fastest and most decisive finish of the season so far," and said of Nijem, "This kid is the kid to beat."

In our weekly interview, Nijem told MMAFighting.com that he felt just as confident in himself as White did in him. Nijem also talked about the other fight on this week's episode, and about his coach, Junior dos Santos, getting a new opponent for UFC 131, with Shane Carwin filling in for the sick Brock Lesnar.

The full interview is below.

Michael David Smith: You took Harvison down, took his back and got him to tap to the rear-naked choke in less than a minute. You must have been pretty pleased.
Ramsey Nijem: It was a good win, and it felt good to get in there. I wasn't feeling good before the fight, but I was feeling very good after I won.

We saw that you were sick beforehand. What happened?
I don't know, I just started throwing up. It might have been nerves or something but I've never hard nerves like that. I have a pretty bad stomach so I'll get sick to my stomach pretty easily. Something didn't sit right.

It seemed like Junior was giving you a lot of individual instruction. What did you learn from him?
He just wanted me to do what I'm good at, which is wrestling, and so when he was teaching me stand-up he was teaching me about closing the distance to allow me to take advantage of my wrestling. A big thing Junior showed me is getting angles so I could go for the takedown and not get knocked out.

After you won, Dana White said you were "the kid to beat." Is that how you felt as well?
Oh, I felt like that going in. I had high expectations for myself going into the house and felt I was good enough to win the show, so every fight I expected to win. I'm definitely glad my performance backed up what I thought.

The other fight was Chris Cope beating Shamar Bailey by unanimous decision. What did you think of that one?
I actually didn't even see that fight because I was in the back, but I know Shamar felt like he deserved to win. He left it in the hands of the judges, though, so that's what happens.

It's now been announced that Brock is sick and he won't be fighting Junior. Did you ever get any inkling on the show that Brock was sick?
No, I had no idea. That came as a total surprise to me. It was hard to see because we really wanted to see Junior fight him. It must have been recently that he got sick because he looked OK. I hope he gets better. I wanted to see the fight because I think it would be a great win for Junior, but seeing Junior against Shane Carwin will be a great fight, too. That's going to be fun seeing two huge heavyweights throwing bombs. That fight might even be more fun for the fans.

(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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