ADCC News is honored to have The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 participant, Kyle Kingsbury, write a weekly blog for our website. The 26 year-old fighter from San Jose, California, will give fans and viewers a unique look at the fights and what goes on behind the scenes that the cameras didn’t catch. Here is Kingsbury’s first blog and we hope you enjoy it as much as we had!
I was the 2nd contestant to arrive at the airport in Las Vegas. The UFC underlings all try to keep you on a very “need to know” basis. After a couple hours of hanging out at the airport, we finally shuttled back to our rooms at the Palace Station. One thinks “Wow, the UFC sure does skimp out on rooms.” But then you remember that you haven’t made it yet, you aren’t a superstar, and that there are 31 other guys stuck in their rooms all thinking about getting into the house.
When we all arrived at the training center it was kind of like the first day of school. I saw a familiar face or two and listened in on as many conversations as I could. I wanted to get a feel for how many people were as nervous as I was. Don’t get me wrong, I was in the very best shape of life. I had spent the last 6 months of my life training hard and training intelligently at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA. I knew where my strengths and weaknesses were and I felt confident going into the competition. After Dana came in, everyone paid close attention as they called out the preliminary matches. To my huge disappointment they matched me up against my buddy Ryan Bader. Ryan and I had known each other from playing sports in college together. I played football while Ryan wrestled for Arizona State University. On one hand I was disappointed that I had to fight my friend and that only one of us could make it into the house. On the other hand, I was pretty damn nervous knowing what I was up against. Ryan was a 3 time Pac-10 champ and a 2 time All-American while wrestling for ASU. Needless to say I was pretty pissed about the circumstances. I certainly hadn’t counted myself out of the fight however, I knew I wasn’t getting an easy win into the house either.
The weigh-ins were comedic while watching Jason Guida’s fat ass flop around like a fish out of water on the ground. I have to say, and all due respect to Jason, there is absolutely no reason to go into that situation not in the very best shape of your life. Making weight should be a cake walk and the last of your worries at that point. It certainly was a breeze for me although I had bigger things on my mind. What if I lose? What if I don’t get into the house? All the training and all the preparation for this amazing opportunity would be down the drain. I know my weaknesses lye on the ground and all I could think about was, “If I can just get into the house my ground game will improve 10 fold.” It didn’t really matter to me at that point which coach I got. Both of them are ground experts.
Fight time finally arrived and in the past few days of sleeplessness and nervousness I had come to grips with the fact that I might lose and might not make it into the house. I really thought myself, “F*ck it, just go out there give it your best. Then when the smoke clears deal with what comes next.” When the fight started I felt very comfortable as Ryan shots seamed a little rushed and not at all “All-American” like. I realized quickly that he was probably just as nervous about this situation as I was. As the round went by my confidence grew and although Ryan had landed some damn good punches of his own I felt comfortable in the stand-up exchanges and landed a hard straight shot right on his chin. Ryan went down to my surprise but regained composure quickly as he pulled guard. I wanted to finish him so bad but his control on his back was as good as his top game. He quickly swept me and I spent the remainder of the round dodging his elbows and ground and pound. In between rounds I felt my confidence grow. The first round had ended and although Ryan definitely stole the end of the round I was confident that I had won the round. When we came out in the 2nd it didn’t take long for me to go for the kill. I thought to my self, “You already hurt him once, knock this guy out!” I rushed in with straight shots and Ryan stayed just out of range then quickly shot in with a beautifully deep shot. While I was in the air going for a ride I thought “He’s definitely an All-American.” When we landed he had already cleared my leg to side control. He quickly made his pass to full mount and as I turned to push one leg Ryan had already sunk the head and arm choke. It was just a matter of time. I fought it as long as I could but when he squeezed in the final seconds I saw the world start to go black and knew I had to tap.
Afterwards I was consumed with disappointment. I gave my buddy a hug and told him he better win the whole thing. As I walked out of the cage I tried to hold my head high although I could not have felt worse. Frank Mir quickly came up to me and let me know that there was nothing to hang my head about, that I had a very exciting fight, and that he was going to talk with Joe Silva and Dana White about why they matched up two quality guys right off the bat. There was hope at this point but the mistakes of my fight played over and over in my head like it was on a projector. Even when Coach Nogueira came up to me and complimented me and said that he was going to try to get me into the house all I saw in my head was the 2nd round over and over again.
Once all the fights finished Dana congratulated all of us for fighting hard and told the loser’s to leave. I had a little hope that someone would be hurt and I would be brought back but I wasn’t sure. They sent me back to the hotel and I waited for the call to leave for the airport. As I waited in my room watching the fight play back in my head I kept a small prayer and hope inside. Could someone have been hurt and I didn’t know about it? If there was an opening would they pick me? Would they bring me back? …