Ultimate Fighter runner-up Ramsey Nijem had to deal with that very situation last year when just 3 weeks out from his scheduled fight against Anthony Njokuani at UFC 140, he broke his hand while training.
It wasn’t a severe break, but there wasn’t anyway for him to fight with the broken hand and so he had to make that dreaded call to matchmaker Joe Silva to tell him he was out.
“I was very down on myself afterwards,” Nijem admitted when talking to MMAWeekly Radio. “You build yourself up, you get ready for the fight, and mentally you’re kind of getting in the zone. When you can’t fight, I don’t know you define yourself as a fighter and when you’re not fighting sometimes you don’t know really who you are. So it’s kind of hard.”
Nijem says it was the advice of coach John Hackelman that brought his spirits back up, and six weeks later he was back in the gym, sparring and training and waiting on a return call from Joe Silva with a new fight.
Unfortunately as of now, Nijem still hasn’t received that call and he’s hoping to get something set up soon. With his last fight happening in Oct 2011, Nijem admits times are getting tough and he wants to get back in the cage to do what he does best.
“It’s been really hard. I’m just trying to stay ready, I even told them I’d take a short notice fight if someone gets injured, replace them. So, I’m in shape and I’m just trying to stay ready to go,” said Nijem. “I’m just hoping I’ll get my opportunity and I’ll hop in as soon as I can.
“It’s frustrating cause I just see all these guys and I see a new match-up every day and it’s just kind of frustrating cause it’s like ‘they got a match-up, they get to fight on that day’ and watching the bank account dwindle as time goes. You’re like I need to fight.”
If Joe Silva is listening however, Nijem does have a request for his next opponent, but don’t misunderstand him as ‘calling somebody out’. There’s just a fight out there that he believes would be a good match-up, and has a natural storyline built into it.
“One fight that I think would be kind of a fun one would be me and Michael Johnson. We’re both runners up of the Ultimate Fighter, both are 55’er’s, I really think that would be a good fight, the fans would like to see it cause we’re both runners up of different seasons, one after another,” said Nijem.
“I think it would be a good fight. He’s coming off a big win, just beat Shane Roller, I just beat Danny Downes, we’re both coming off good wins.”
Nijem understands the philosophy of sometimes you get what you ask for, so he’s asking for a fight with fellow Ultimate Fighter alum Michael Johnson. If it happens, he’ll be more than pleased, but in the long run he just wants to fight.
“It’s nothing against him personally, I don’t even know him, but it’s more I just think that would be a fun fight for the fans to watch,” said Nijem.
“I’m asking for fights so hopefully I get what I ask for, if that fight happens, I’ll be happy and I’ll take it and it will be a great fight for both of us.”