Mike Ricci was not an unknown heading into the 16th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Before joining the show, he had amassed a professional record of 7-2, with most of those fights taking place for Ringside. Ricci did have one taste of the big time before TUF, fighting once on a Bellator card, where current Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran knocked him out.
Ricci also trains at the famed Tristar gym in Montreal, mixing it up with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, rising UFC star Rory MacDonald and a rotating cast of All-Stars that travel to the gym to work with head trainer Firas Zahabi.
That level of experience gives Ricci a lot of confidence despite giving up weight and size to his opponent on Saturday’s TUF finale card, Colton Smith.
BR/MMA caught recently caught up with Ricci, and when the conversation got around to Smith, Ricci said, “Colton Smith’s only advantage in this fight is the fact that he’s bigger than me, just like everyone else I fought there. None of them were as good as I was; Colton’s not as good as I am.”
Ricci went on, “At the end of the day, he’s not half the fighter that I am, and he knows that.”
Ricci also took the time to review how he found his way into the TUF house, the experience in the house and more.