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Ramsey Nijem Feeling Confident Heading Into Fight With Chris Cope

With the pairings set for the final four of this season on The Ultimate Fighter, Ramsey Nijem has been matched up with Chris Cope for a semifinal fight with a berth in the Ultimate Fighter Finale on the line.

In his weekly interview with MMAFighting.com, Nijem said he thought he matched up well with Cope, and was feeling confident when the fight was announced that he'd earn a spot in the finale.

Nijem also talked about the two fights on this week's episode -- and the third fight that nearly broke out in the house. The full interview is below.

Michael David Smith: Let's start near the end, when we found out you'd be fighting Chris Cope in the semifinals. How did you feel about Chris as an opponent?
Ramsey Nijem: I felt like it was a good fight for me. Chris doesn't throw with the most power, and the only thing I was worried about was that he has good takedown defense. So going into the fight I knew it was going to be hard to take him down, and that when I do shoot I'd have to set him up real well because I wouldn't want to waste my energy.

Dana White said that both coaches thought you and Tony Ferguson were the two best fighters on the show. Did you feel that way?
I have high expectations for myself. I felt like I was one of the better fighters in the house and had the tools to win it all. I knew Tony was a tough kid but technique wise I didn't think Tony was the best fighter. He'd go in there and throw down but I didn't think his technique was all that great.

It's interesting that you say that because Tony had two quick knockouts -- on this week's show Tony knocked out Ryan McGillivray and he also knocked out Justin Edwards with an upkick in his previous fight -- but neither of those knockouts really showed great striking technique.
I really felt like at this point Tony had kind of gotten lucky. I really thought Justin was the toughest fighter there, honestly, and I felt like Tony was fortunate to get past him. And as for Tony beating Ryan, to be honest I didn't think Ryan was really recovered from his fight with Len earlier on the show and I didn't think he was 100 percent going into that.

I'm surprised they cleared Ryan to fight again if he wasn't fully recovered from his previous fight.
I was surprised, too.

Back to Tony for a second, he and Charlie Rader nearly got into a fight in the house. Did Tony cross the line with some of the things he was saying about Charlie's kid?
I never really got a good vibe from Tony. I thought he had some personal demons. That was actually an edited version of what happened. Tony was making fun of everybody. At one point he said something about me, like "What do you want me to do, get naked so you can beat me?" He thought I was going to get mad about that but I just fell on the floor laughing. That whole night he was talking crap to everybody.

Chuck O'Neil beat Zach Davis by unanimous decision. What did you think of Chuck's performance?
He turned it on and fought smart. He stopped Zach's takedowns, forced it to be a stand-up fight and looked good. It was hard to watch Zach get beat up like that because he's a good friend.

Zach's eyes looked pretty nasty and he said he had injured both retinas and he wouldn't be able to fight anymore. Does seeing something like that happen to a fellow fighter scare you at all?
I don't really get scared but I do feel thankful and blessed that I haven't experienced anything like that, and my body has held up. It's a tough thing to hear. I can only imagine what it felt like for Zach. It just makes me appreciate that I can fight and I'm healthy. It's a sad thing, too, because Zach really loves to fight.

You were the only guy left from Junior's team who advanced to the semifinals. Was that disappointing because your teammates lost, or a good thing because you wouldn't have to fight a teammate?
It was disappointing. It would have been nice for us to at least be two and two. I was lucky that Justin Edwards was willing to work out with me because otherwise I would have had no training partners. At the end, as you could see, everybody was partying and not really working hard anymore and it would have been nice to have another teammate working hard with me.

(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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