Back again with another blog for Fighters.com!
When it came to team selection, to be honest, I was just ecstatic winning to get into the house and it didn’t really matter to me as far as who picked me. Although, secretly, I was kind of hoping to be on Michael Bisping’s team because I was hoping he might bring Quinton Jackson in as a surprise coach. I love “Rampage”! But for the most part it didn’t matter to me. I was just happy to be on the show.
As far as whether my wish came true, that is a negative. Trust me, if “Rampage” had been on the show I would have ended up breaking the $5 million confidentiality clause because I would have told everybody, probably Tweeted something like, “Oh my god! I just met ‘Rampage’!” But unfortunately he didn’t show up this time.
I found out pretty quickly that when you meet a person, like Bisping, it’s completely different than how they might be portrayed on television. He was actually pretty cool. At times, he did some douchebag stuff – I’ll admit that – but overall, as a coach, he was solid. I was very pleased with his ability on that front.
When I first walked into the house it was amazing! There are a bunch of big portraits of fighters you grew up watching like Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida…they had a picture of Randy Couture of when he knocked out Tim Sylvia. With Forrest Griffin they had a big ass Jesus-pose shot. It was surreal because it was like, “Wow! This is really happening! I’m in the Ultimate Fighter house!”
As fighters, we want to get to the top and when you achieve that level of success it comes with perks like having a big house. It was a little overwhelming once you first get into the house. And of course people opened the fridge and wanted to have a BBQ or whatever, but with it being the first time at 145 I was freaking out about my weight. Plus, I looked at the rest of the guys as potential opponents. I don’t want to get in close, make friends, with anyone I may have to fight. That’s why in the beginning of the episode you didn’t see me until teams were picked and then again until weigh-ins and fight time. I didn’t hang out with anybody. I was in the corner reading the Bible. I was in fight mode and me being in fight mode isn’t good television. I get quiet, reflective.
Getting picked to fight first, frankly, sucked ass. I was trying to get acclimated to the house, to the schedule…just trying to figure out what to do and how the whole TUF experience worked. We moved into the house day one, picked teams day two, and then day three all of the sudden I’m already fighting somebody. But then again I’m on the show for a reason and that’s what I came to do. After I got chosen to fight Bryan Caraway, I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I thought, “Okay, time to put on your boots and go to work.”
The weight trick they showed Bisping teaching me resulted in literally the easiest cut of my career. It was shocking. I’m good with dieting and I know how to lose weight but when it comes to dropping I’m usually in the sauna, getting delirious, but Bisping’s salt bath was amazing. I lost a bunch of weight without even really trying. I was thinking, “Whoa! This is off the chain! I’m supposed to feel crazy and drained.” So it really helped and it’s definitely going to be something I continue to do to make weight.
The weigh-in chant had nothing to do with me. It was all Akira Corrasani and Josh Ferguson. Akira is a crazy character! And like I said before, I’m quiet when I’m getting ready to fight and I was focused purely on the bout. Everybody else, they could still have fun, and when the group saw I was the one who got picked to fight so they all kind of relaxed.
I’ll be honest – my performance against Caraway sucked. I had moved from Alabama to Georgia to Florida for American Top Team in the months prior to the show, and then before I know it I made the Ultimate Fighter and head out to Las Vegas. It was just a strange situation because I never had a real chance to settle. It’s hard to explain other than to say I was very disappointed in how I did because my mind wasn’t in the right place. Dana White was there, the cameras are on…all I could hear was my heartbeat. In the second round I just wanted to kill Caraway because I knew the first hadn’t gone my way at all. I kept thinking about White’s infamous words, “You never leave it in the hands of the judges.” And here it is a two-round fight and I’m already down a round.
I learned from the experience and trust me, I’ll be back stronger and more-prepared the next time you see me in the cage! It may not have gone my way but I’m still very thankful for the opportunity.
And don’t worry, you’ll still be seeing more of me on the show as you probably guessed by the preview for the next episode. Now that I’ve lost, let’s just say my personality will come out a bit more.
Before ending this week’s blog, I want to give a shout out to all of my fellow Dragon Ball Z fans for hitting me up on Twitter. I got a lot of positive feedback about giving Dragon Ball some love on the show and I appreciate it. I also want to say Roll Tide! We might be #3 in the nation but we’re going to get that top spot and another national championship. I also want to give a shout out the 117th in Birmingham – my National Guard unit – for being so supportive and to American Top Team too. They’re my home. They’ve taken me in, welcomed me with open arms, and I greatly appreciate that. Thanks to my old gym too, Spartan Fitness, in Hoover, Alabama. I’m nothing without them and wouldn’t be anywhere near the man I am today without their help. To my family and friends back home too. And of course thanks to my strength and conditioning coach too for keeping me looking like a smaller, sexy Bobby Lashley.