Court McGee’s struggle through a near-death experience and a battle with drugs is one typically saved for a Hollywood film.
However, this isn’t a made-for-television special. This is real life.
McGee, who captured the title of The Ultimate Fighter in 2010, returns to the Octagon later this month vs. Josh Neer at UFC 157. The bout will mark his debut at welterweight after competing for five years at middleweight.
Upon submitting Kris McCray in the finals of TUF, McGee (13-3) went on to earn two more UFC wins, submitting Ryan Jensen and earning a decision over Dongi Yang.
Last year, “The Crusher” was dealt a pair of decision defeats at the hands of Costa Philippou and Nick Ring – the latter of which was viewed as a surprise when the scorecards were read.
However, not being one to focus on the past, McGee has moved forward. He enters 2013 at a new weight class and looking to start another win streak inside the Octagon. Recently, McGee took time to discuss his career with MMAConvert.com.
Why did you make the decision to cut to welterweight after the Nick Ring fight?
“I’ve been anticipating the weight cut for a year, year-and-a-half. I was going to do it prior to my fight in Australia (in early 2012 vs. Costa Philippou), but we ended up not doing it because we got offered the fight. We decided to take the fight, put on a few extra pounds, bulk up and do the best we could.
“Then, the next fight came up, so we postponed (the weight cut) again. After this last fight in Calgary (vs. Nick Ring), we called up (UFC matchmaker) Joe (Silva) and told him I have to cut down to 170. He said alright.”
How has the weight cut gone from middleweight to welterweight?
“Over the years of conditioning, it’s changed, especially with my head coaches in Utah. We condition a lot more, and I’ve gotten naturally lighter over the years. It wasn’t making any sense for me to work 10 times harder to put on five pounds of muscle. (Welterweight) is probably where I should have been.”
What kind of advantages will competing at 170 pounds provide you inside the Octagon?
“If I go down a weight division, I will have that little extra edge. How I fight is my pressuring my opponent and beating a hole in their face. That is how I fight. There is no special game plan; I’m not trying to be Anderson Silva or karate-kick this shit. I’m not that guy. I come out, get in your face, push you until I feel you break. When I feel that happen, I take advantage. I’ve never been a finesse-type guy in anything. Maybe I was drawing when I was a child.”
You are facing Josh Neer at UFC 157 this month. What do you have planned for the veteran?
“I don’t ever watch a ton of footage. I watched him fight Nick Diaz, that was the only fight I watched. I leave it to my coaches to watch. They can game plan what kind of drills I need to do. A lot of times, I don’t know what’s good for me to work on, so that’s why I have those coaches because they know what’s good for me to drill.”
The loss to Ring was scored very closely for him, even though you held advantages in many areas of the match. Have you re-watched it, and what did you think of the decision?
“I was shocked after watching it a couple times. I cut him off good, pressured him good. He landed a couple good shots, I landed three or four head kicks. Granted, they didn’t put him down, but I wobbled him a couple times. I thought the last round was pretty decisive.
“It’s just one of those things. It’s not up to Nick, it’s not up to me. I am good friends with Nick, I like him, but when it comes down to a fight….I don’t know Josh. I’ve heard a little bit about him. I know what I need to do. I need to come down and put this dude out.”
Photo credit: Fanhouse