Team Canada's Chad Laprise joins us in our weekly Thursday morning Q&A, where he'll break down all the action that took place inside the TUF house, both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes.
If you have any questions you'd like to ask Chad please let us know in the comments below and he'll answer you next week. Rec'd comments will get first priority. Now with that said, let's get things started.
David St. Martin: Well, lets just address the elephant in the room. What's your reaction to the situation with Tyler Manawaroa? Has the UFC contacted you guys?
Chad Laprise: The UFC's publicist just emailed us to remember our code of conduct and basically not to do what Tyler did. Man, 10-0 just 19 years old. He's a big prospect and won his first fight already! I just think the whole situation was very unfortunate, but I don't want to get into it too much.
St. Martin: Leading up to the fight it seemed like the mood in the house was evening out a bit, right?
Laprise: Yea with us being up three fights to none things started looking up for them after Tyler's big win. I personally never underestimated any of the Aussies. Some of my teammates might have thought these wins would be pretty easy but I knew they would all be tough. We weren't going to walk over anyone.
Laprise: Matt was our least experienced guy. He's a great kid, but he just didn't have as much time training with great camps like most of us. We're fortunate to do this full time. He works full time in the military and fights as a passion of his. We knew that Rich was one of their main guys coming in. I had faith in Matt but I was worried Rich would just take him down and ground out a decision. I thought Matt held his own. The fight was competitive.
He's only 21, I think 4-0 as a pro. He was just so happy to learn with great coaches. He just doesn't have that luxury where he's from, a small town on the east coast of Canada. Matt got better and better as the show went on. If we had the pick we would have had Olivier Aubin-Mercier fight first to give Matt more time to get ready.
St. Martin: So when you're watching a welterweight fight, are you really cheering? Or mostly focused on evaluating a potential opponent?
Laprise: Of course I'm going to cheer for Matt, but once that fight was over I had my eye on Rich. There were now three of us in the welterweight semi-finals and I didn't want to fight Kajan, my teammate. I wanted Rich, 100%. Stylistically, he's more of a grinder wrestler and I thought I'd be able to use my standup against him. Nothing personal, Rich was one of my favorite guys in the house, but that's the fight I wanted for the semi-finals.
Laprise: That's 16 years of being at the top of a sport. It's incredible to make it to one Olympics. If we had won the fight picks we wanted Luke Harris to fight him. He's our Judo black belt and has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well. We liked that matchup but Dan wanted Sheldon so you'll have to wait and see what happens.
St. Martin: It also looked like they were both a little busted up going in. Was it hard hiding injuries in the house?
Laprise: Yea for sure. They showed Rich being banged up before his fight and I had no idea. You definitely didn't want anyone noticing something out of the ordinary. I felt terrible for Sheldon. He actually hurt himself on the very first day we got there. He hurt his knee our first training session and did the whole show like that.
St. Martin: Now to the mail bag.
What are the three biggest improvements you have had made to your game, whilst on the show?
Laprise: I come from a striking background so I really focused on getting back to my feet. I worked on escapes from certain positions. Another thing was just being able to fight whoever, whenever. Just being mentally prepared to fight anyone. You don't know too much about your opponent so just go in there and do what you're going to do.
Aside from yourself; which fighter would you say has the biggest future in the sport?
Laprise: I would say Tyler, but probably not now. He had a big future. Two guys actually. Olivier, from our team. He's a huge prospect, an elite level grappler. Then I would say Jake Mathews from the Australian team. Young kid, just 19 years old. He's got a big future ahead of him if he can get with the right camp. [Looks like he did]
Do you have a question for Chad Laprise? Ask it in the comments below and he'll answer you next week. The Ultimate Fighter: Nations airs every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Portions of this interview have been edited for concision.