Dan Cramer's TUF Blog - Week Seven
By this time, we had narrowed down the original 32 to just 8. We had been in the house for over four weeks at this point. The quarterfinals were exciting and I wanted to get out there and perform my best. I knew what I needed to focus on for the fight, and at this point I was just ready to go out and do it. After being in the house for so long, it had kind of dulled my nerves a little. Don't get me wrong, I was still nervous and excited. But at this point, I had already been through such an emotional and psychological roller coaster, it was hard to be worked up. I just wanted to fight and give it my best. I knew I had a tough matchup ahead, but at the same time I knew I was being underestimated by probably just about everyone in the house. It was all good though. I didn't mind being the underdog.
TWO NEW TRAINING PARTNERS
Dante and Matt coming over worked out great for me. I got to train with Dante, who was probably the only other jiu-jitsu guy in the house on the level of Tim. In my normal training camp, I have the luxury of training with some of the best black belts in the world. On the show, both high level jiu-jitsu guys ended up on the other team. So, it had been over a month since I had seen that level of jiu-jitsu. It was nice to get to train with Dante. He was really helpful and I wanna thank him for that. Matt Brown was also great to have over on our side. Both these dudes were two of the guys I was better friends with in the house, so it was nice to have them join our side. Matt Brown had to fight Amir so he worked a lot with Juanito for his boxing, so him and I didn't train together much. Either way, I was glad to have both guys come train with us.
TAYLOR VS RIVERA
This fight played out exactly how I explained last week. It was a tough situation for Dante because Jesse had already seen all of Dante's 'bread and butter' submissions. He knew what was coming the whole time. To add insult to injury, Cameron, who is a phenomenal jiu-jitsu coach and who studied Dante's style, was warning Jesse from the corner on every submission Dante was setting up. Not to take anything from Jesse, he is a strong dude and a great wrestler, but it's tough for a jiu-jitsu guy to "catch" someone with a technique if they have seen everything you like to do for the past month. Either way, Jesse fought hard and was able to grind out the win and do all the damage.
SADOLLAH VS BROWN
This fight was exciting! Knees, punches, elbows, flying kicks, everything was in this one. Both these guys were scoring and landing on the feet. Amir landed a sweet knee and you could tell it hurt Matt. Watching right there, you could hear it smack when it landed and it sounded painful. Brown, who isn't known for his ground game, ended up in a bad position on the ground and got caught. Up until that point, I had him winning the fight. That's the name of the game though. Both guys put on a great show and definitely lived up to the excitement we all expected from the matchup.
None of these quarterfinal results surprised me, as I thought they were pretty evenly matched fights. In my opinion, both fights were coin flips going into it. I thought Dante would have come closer to catching Jesse in a submission, but forgot about Cameron being in Jesse's corner. I also didn't think Matt vs. Amir would end in a submission, but up until that point the fight was exactly what I expected.
GETTING READY FOR CREDEUR
I was ready to fight Tim. He and I were cool around the house and nothing really changed as far as how we treated each other. I thought that he might be underestimating me a little bit, but couldn't really blame him. Being one of the least experienced guys on the show, I thought a lot of the guys might be doing that, so I wasn't offended or anything like that. Tim always treated me with respect and I gave the same to him. I was pretty excited to fight a guy as established as him and to really see where I stand. I knew this fight was going to be better than most thought.
Things have definitely gotten a little different since the beginning of the show. First of all, I've gotten some of the weirdest messages I’ve ever seen on Myspace. But I guess that comes with the territory. I'm from a small town, so sometimes I’ll get people coming up to me in the grocery store or out somewhere at night and asking about the show. Other than that, not too much has changed. I hang out with all the same friends I’ve hung out with before all of this, and I wouldn't want it any other way. I actually get made fun of more now since the show than I ever have in the past (my group of friends and I are pretty ruthless with each other, but it's all in good fun). Thanks to Tim Credeur, I have people asking me about making 16 year old girls cry around the nation. Ha ha ha, that was a good one. All in all, everyone has been really supportive and a lot of local friends and family are always letting me know that they're rooting for me. All that encouragement really means a lot to me and helps motivate me during training. Thanks to everyone.