This is a guest post by Josh Nason.
On season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter, Chuck O’Neil was like a bad penny.
He didn’t initially make the final cut but was flown back to Las Vegas two days after leaving. He lost his first fight to Zach Davis but earned a wild card spot and a rematch with Davis, which he won convincingly.
After losing to Tony Ferguson in the TUF semifinals, O’Neil gets another shot as he fights fellow semifinalist Chris Cope Saturday on the televised portion of The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale on Spike.
O’Neil (8-3) talked to myself and PJ Huot Thursday on the WGAM MMA Show and said a lot of his work at Team Sityodtong has been on cage control and sparring with those looking to run to evade strikes.
“(Cope) has heart for days which makes up for the inexperience. The kid’s got a gas tank and never say die attitude. It’s going to be a battle of hearts out there and should be an interesting fight,” O’Neil said.
The Falmouth, MA, native watched the defeat to Ferguson for the first time this week and said that while it was painful to watch, he had to learn from his mistakes, adding that he felt he kept the emotion of Ferguson’s earlier altercation with friend Charlie Rader out of the Octagon.
“I had to put my emotions in check and keep it professional. That was my 4th fight in 17 days and my body was definitely starting to wear down a little bit,” he said. “I felt shot, but I wanted to stick it out and handle it like a man. My leg was thinking otherwise because I couldn’t stand on it after a while.”
While Ferguson came off looking poorly after his drunken night in episode 9, O’Neil said it was actually much worse that what was aired.
“He went up to Zach Davis the day after he was told he could never fight again and was asking ‘What’s with your eye? What is that, an f’ing joke?’ It got really ugly,” he said.
“He went up from everyone to Shamar (Bailey) to Ryan (McGillivray) to throwing Nordim (Asrih) on the ground. He got in my face…it was stupid. He was belligerent and out of control. It was a total lack of respect for himself and everyone in that house.”
O’Neil talked more about the Ferguson fight, the coaching inexperience of Brock Lesnar and when he felt he turned the corner, pretending to sleep when Len Bentley was talking, the MMA scene in Massachusetts and more (22:00 mark).
Josh Nason (@JoshNason) is a New England-based MMA journalist that contributes to BloodyElbow.com, FIGHT! Magazine and WrestlingObserver.com. He co-hosts the weekly MMA Show on ESPN Radio affiliate WGAMradio.com.
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