But in this past season of The Ultimate Fighter: Nations, the two were pitted against each other, country against country, and the coaches carried their flags with a sense of unwavering pride.
The regional angle made for a motivating factor, according to Team Australia coach Kyle Noke.
“It definitely motivated me more. Just the country-versus-country aspect of this Ultimate Fighter, that’s motivation enough,” Noke recently said when asked of his drive to fight Patrick Coté this coming Wednesday. “It puts a little more pressure on me, but I think the pressure’s a privilege. It makes me work harder and train harder. I’m excited to fight Patrick Coté. Watching all these guys on the show was motivating for me. I can’t wait to get in there. I’m excited.”
Noke admitted that the rivalry between the countries is for the most part nonexistent, as both Australia and Canada have never once been considered as areas of the world vying for power in any particular aspect.
With the recent season of TUF, however, Canada and Australia had some of their best fighters compete on the reality show. The rivalry, if any, fostered inside of the TUF gym and there began the pride of representing their homelands. Whether or not they had a rivalry going into the season didn’t matter once the Octagon doors closed.
“There’s really no rivalry at all, but if you’re going to put two countries against each other, they’re going to compete,” Noke said. “Whether they like each other or hate each other or not, it’s country versus country. You want to win for your country.”
With the upcoming fight against Coté at The Ultimate Fighter: Nations Finale, Noke will continue his return to welterweight after fighting the most recent stint of his career at middleweight. The cut down to 170 pounds, Noke said, hasn’t been easy, but it’s also something he wouldn’t consider difficult.
Against Coté, Noke will fight his second-consecutive welterweight fight in the UFC, and he’ll look to win one for his country with the strength and speed that the weight cut has bestowed upon him.
“I wasn’t really cutting weight to make 185 [pounds], so I feel great at welterweight,” he said. “I feel just as big as I was at 185. I’m stronger and faster, so I feel good. It’s not an easy cut, but it’s not hard. I don’t feel drained, and I don’t feel like I’m dying to make weight.”
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