Week 12 of the Ultimate Fighter, the semifinals Mike Ricci vs Neil Magny and Jon Manley vs. Colton Smith everything is on the line. Before we get to the fights lets address what happen for during the season. It is unscripted TV but not unedited that’s for sure. Our goal as Team Nelson was to get them through the tournament where one man wins the ultimate fighter contract. We were not there to ensure you had 7 or 15 BFF’s when you where done.
A lot has been said about Team Nelson little based on fact. I think you can check the resume a see I have done pretty good as a coach in this business. Hell the very picture you use on this site of me , is me holding Randy Couture’s heavyweight belt. Those who have watched the UFC Countdown show’s or heard me on MMA radio know I have no problem articulating my thoughts and philosophy on coaching.
I was mic’d up every episode but was never shown. Hell unlike the guys on the other side they never even put our names on TV. Jeff Mayweather has spent most of his life in boxing so he knows how to coach as well. Anthony”Hitman” Brown has spent the better part of 25years as a pro kick boxer 22-1 with one nc as a fighter.. James Johnson is a close Friend of Roy Nelson who has spent many years in the boxing and kickboxing world. As well as Roy who won season 10 of the ultimate fighter 17-7 and ranked number 10 by MMAWeekly.
So to say these guys were not coached is BS, was it structured like we would a 10 week camp? No, our thoughts were to get them through the 6 week grind.
Not only were these staff available to them but Roy brought in the likes of Mike Pyle winner 4 of his last 5 UFC fights, fighting on the Finale show not shown. Martin Kampmann a top contending welterweight not shown on the show. Nate Diaz another top contending lightweight a TUF winner not shown on the show. Amir Sadollah season 7 winner came in twice not shown.
Rashad Evans season 2 TUF winner not shown. Nick Diaz top 5 welterweight in the world, former Strikeforce title holder not shown. Gilbert Melendez current strike force lightweight champion was in coaching not shown. Former Strikeforce Middleweight champ Jake Shields was there not shown. Royce Gracie the guy who launched the UFC was in not shown. Only guest coach that was shown coaching was season one winner Forrest Griffin using some of the drills I taught him. So to say these guys were not coached is absurd.
I know the executive producer does not like Roy from his show season 10 but this is ridiculous. Because facts are facts going into the finale between Colton Smith from Team Nelson vs. Mike Ricci Team Carwin the score is all even. So I guess the Bad News Bears did okay after all. Let’s break down Team Nelson fighters. I have no knowledge of who the UFC has picked up or released.
Cameron Diffley 3-0 28 years of age: On Team Nelson we had the most familiarity with Cameron. He is a Vegas based kid. Though not our number 1 pick was selected first to fight, the match up with Neil Magny came about because we cornered Neil to get in the house. Neil had trouble with stopping take downs on what we felt was an inferior fighter to Cameron. Though Neil was a superior striker and more athletic we thought Cameron could impose his will and work his top game. We were flat wrong while Cameron is a good Jiu jitsu player maybe more suited for grappler’s quest than the UFC. Needs work on his wrestling and being a more accurate striker does not carry big pop or is a great athlete. Extrapolation here is going to be tough. He is got to fast track his game cause at 28 Cameron is in the same age range as Jake Ellenberger, Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks.
Joey “Boom Boom” Rivera 7-1 32 years of age: Joey is pretty decent at everything not great at anyone attribute. For most of the season Joey played his cards close to his vest. Was a little surprise by what I felt like was an ambush a day before the semifinals telling Roy how he was not coached properly, Though he picked the Brain of every guess coach that came on and had many mitts sessions with Jeff Mayweather including after he won his fight vs. Sam Alvey. We stated in the beginning we do man stuff have a question or problem with something we could always address it. So why not half way into the show to address your concerns or problems, but the day before tapping wrapped. I felt it was more like we trashed you on TV so be prepared. I thought Joey was most ready to compete on the show. Considering his age his time is now. Some of the younger guys could lose and in 2 or 3 years work their way back into the fold. Joey had a sense of urgency we saw it vs. Sam but was not there against Jon Manley. There was one point Jon was in on a double leg against the cage, Joey threw one elbow and seem to stop because Jon was his friend. He lost that fight not on coaching but was not ready to put it on the line against someone he liked. Will that decision cost him only time will tell? Extrapolation here is age wise he is a veteran but with the like of Martin Kampmann, Mike Pyle and Jon Fitch to name a few . He has to hope to ascend while they go on a sharp decline.
Julian “Nitrane” Lane 4-0 25 years of age: Julian image probable took the biggest hit on the show. He is tatted up has the Mohawk fueled with a quick temper. A lot of pressure was on this kid he felt it was feast or famine on the show. At the time he was in the house he had a 10month old child with another on the way to top that off was the last pick on the show, which put a huge chip on his shoulder. Julian was as we remembered was Mr. 3 day training session. But admitted his cardio was bad when he got to the show. So much for 3 a days, Julian from what I gathered in talking with him, he is self trained nowadays that is a recipe for disaster. Because of being picked last and lack of maturity it caused him to pick Bristol as his match up instead of Matt Secor whom he wanted to face. To move further in his career he is going to have to grow up he is a father of two. Go back to his natural weight of 155lbs and get a coach that he believes in and that believes in him. Strong athletic but tons of bad habits, and in one of his mantic moments that dude hit himself harder than an opponent could punch him. So he has a good chin. Needs to work on fundaments of every aspect of his game, I do not think he is a bad kid just needs to be in a better environment to succeed. And get whatever issues he has under control at 25 he has time to turn the corner. The question is will he? 155lbs seem to be a lot of good fighters at this weight.
Nic “Naptime” Herron-Webb 12-3 22years of age: I wish they would have shown when he admitted he was lazy. This was a kid when everybody was warming up he would still putting on gear. Couple that, with at one point in the show 3 guys injured 1 guying being lazy and slow and guy getting ready to fight and they wanted 12 week training camp type of work. Roy and I being like minded here, I am not a pom pom waver kind of guy. You are grown men and professional athletes I am not going to sell you a dream. I am going to be real. I will joke and have fun but when it is time to work lets work. Nic has good hands when he wants, good wrestling when he so desires as well as good jits. But lazy fights with no sense of urgency what so ever. I think to things for his career maybe a move out of Alaska being that he has a 3 year old son not going to happen. Also listed at 5’10 I think closer to 5’9 needs to maybe move down to 155lbs. He could put all together and unleash his beast but as of now lacks the mental equity to pull it off. Was robbed of a 3rd round on the Show vs. Igor, but with a lackluster effort in the 1rd he put himself in that position next time out must leave it all in the cage.
Mike “The Messenger” Hill 4-0 25 years of age: Was Team Nelson number 2 pick. After a few days of practice if we could have renumbered our picks he would not have remained number 2. Not for anything he did wrong, He was even rawer then we realized. Physically strong and tough but not a lot of applied knowledge of MMA, he has been training for about 2 and ½ years with time off for injuries. Was not a fan of Roy’s and by the end coaches were not a big fan of his. Here is why the whole he did not want to fight Mike Ricci in the beginning we thought they had trained together and were friends besides being fellow countryman. When it came to light it was just about being both from Canada it was a sign to us that mentally may not be that strong. Needs to work on being Mike Hill in the gym not work on moves from other noted fighters, work on balance and not being so squared up when he fights. Learn to work distance and angles, work his wrestling and submission game. Was in good condition and seems to have a working knowledge of nutrition. He believes in the camp he is from still young.
But what I saw was not ready for prime that being said that is caused by youth and inexperience. Has a lot of work to do but I think he knows that. Do not think cause of his rawness the TUF was the best place for him to thrive. But from a solid camp so we shall see.
Dominic “ShoNuff” Waters 5-1 23 years of age: Long armed physically imposing welterweight. Another very young fighter, Team Nelsons number 1 pick. In his fight with Mike Ricci cardio broke him. Has vowed that will not happen again time will tell. I think he has great upside. Needs to work on creating good habits while training fun loving kid. I was disappointed in his fight vs.Ricci and on a couple occasions not watching his weight. But overall I can give a mulligan on some stuff for being young. I think he will put in work. He needs to work on the technical side of everything. Tries to muscle his way out of thing when he wrestle, need to work on being consistent with that 80 inch reach. I like the way he sets the pace that he wants to fight at. Repetition will take care of some of his flaws. Spoke with him the other day I told him I expect big things from him.
Jon “Super” Manley 7-1 24 or25 years of age: Reminds me of Forrest Griffin in that he works he ass off. Came in and took to the coaches right away. Always asked questions, Jon’s only drawback is he worries about being liked too much. Ground game is solid and improved his striking also understood better concepts of how to change rhythm with his striking. I think will make a mark in MMA if he keeps improving. Wrestling was also getting better, no quit in Jon was in danger vs James who had a tight triangle Kept his wits worked his way out and got a submission win.
Colton Smith 5-1 25 years of age: From day one had the right attitude and skill set to win this show. With his military experience was probably best suited for the house. Good wrestling background needs to improve his stand and has. Another who ask thingsand recieved the answer to his question. All around good kid, family man and I believe the next TUF champion, he has great work ethic and will.