by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
There could be a lot of ways to describe the experience that Kris “Savage” McCray had going through six weeks of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, but it’s pretty much best described in one word: adversity.

From day one on the show, McCray was a bit of an underdog. Having less professional fights than many of the other fighters, and not coming in with a loud mouth proclaiming he was the best, McCray instead focused on fighting and he ended up doing a lot of that.

With a total of five fights during his time on the show, McCray made more trips to the Octagon than anyone ever during a season of the reality show, so when he faces former housemate Court McGee on Saturday night he knows he’s earned it.

“Even though Court did lose, he didn’t fight his way back in there. I had to fight to come back. I had to fight every day cause of how my team was around each other, and my coach left, and my first day of practice I had fluid in my right knee, and (Kyacey) Uscola banged my other knee up, and then I had to fight my friend, and all that stuff. I had to go through all that stuff,” McCray told MMAWeekly Radio prior to the fight. “Now it is just Court, I just trained for him. So it’s definitely going to be a third beginning for me.”

That third beginning started several weeks ago with an intense training camp, primarily with coach and jiu-jitsu ace Lloyd Irvin at his school in Maryland. The three training sessions per day have whipped McCray into a new physical shape that he says he’s never had before. He plans to come into the fight walking around 20 pounds less than when he was on the show.

During the fights on the show McCray was dogged for cardio issues in his first fight and loss to Josh Bryant. While the Virginia based fighter says the cardio problems are a thing of the past, he won’t guarantee that exhaustion won’t set in, but that will be at the cost of going after McGee with everything he’s got from the moment the fight starts.

“I want everybody to see my physical change, I know I’m going to be tired in that third round because I’m going to be going off in that first and second round, but I’m going to be more composed, have my hands up, a little more crisp, so all those kinds of things are going to come into play,” McCray stated.

The fights on “The Ultimate Fighter” determine who will be in the finale, but not necessarily mean that the fighter on the show is who the fighter is after a full training camp back at home, with life back to normal. For McCray he understands that the fights on the show were way different than what he’s about to encounter this weekend, but he’s well aware the same goes for Court McGee.

“It’s going to be a different Court and a different Savage in there because we’re going to have energy. It’s going to be a faster paced fight than we both fought in our last one. (We’re) both going to be hungry because it’s the last fight,” said McCray.

Harkening back to possibly the greatest fight in UFC history, McCray thinks that he and McGee will put on a show above anything else when they square off in the cage, but in the end it’s his hand that will be raised.

“Expect one of those Stephan Bonnar/Forrest Griffin types of fights, at the end everybody’s up clapping and both guys get the contracts,” McCray said. “The only one winning, I want that to be me.”