Wilko's TV guide
Britain's Aaron Wilkinson is pleased to have got his Ultimate Fighter challenge off to a winning start.
By Aaron Wilkinson
Last Updated: 23/09/10 4:50pm
The first episode of The Ultimate Fighter was aired on Tuesday night on Sky Sports 2 and it was a real buzz to see myself on television, albeit only for a few seconds.
I thought it would be really strange to see myself on television, but I think I'm actually getting used to it now. My fight was condensed down to highlights and, to be honest, I was grateful they skipped through some of the dodgier moments in the fight.
There were no extra nerves for that first fight, but I definitely sensed there was a lot at stake. I see every fight as a building block and try to treat each fight separately. You never want to lose any fight, no matter how important or less important it may seem. A loss is always going to put you back a step.
So, with that in mind, I just treated my first fight on the show the same as all my other ones back home. It was a fight I needed to win in order to get in the house and progress in the competition.
There was a bit more at stake, perhaps, but that didn't make me any more nervous or anxious. I was ready for it and knew I needed a victory in order to move into the house. I'm always quite calm and relaxed before a fight and am then able to switch as soon as I get in there. It's almost like two different people.
I fought Mike Richman in my first match and felt I performed really well overall. I was dead happy with the way I controlled the fight for the most part. I started the fight on my feet, thought I'd be OK in the stand-up, and then eventually went to the ground with a takedown.
The highlights of the fight probably made me look better than I actually was, though, as Richman caught me in a really deep D'arce choke in the first round and nearly finished the fight. I was pretty close to passing out at a couple of points, but he eventually let the choke go and allowed me to come back at him and turn it around. I managed to get back to my feet and control the round from there.
The first round was a lot closer than the highlights made out and he was probably winning the fight at that stage. Thankfully, I was able to turn things around in the second and eventually win the fight.
It wasn't the greatest display of my skills, but I was able to show my heart and guts in that fight, and I hope I impressed a few people along the way. I had to dig deep at times and maybe a few people thought I was 'done' when he sunk in that choke.
Richman was undefeated and no joke, so it was pleasing to escape the choke and then dominate him for the remainder of the fight. I gained a lot of confidence from that win. A few people expected me to get beaten going into that fight and I wasn't about to let that happen.
As for the other guys that progressed into the house, I had seen a few of them before and knew the quality would be high on the show.
I'd seen Nam Phan, I'd heard of Kyle Watson and knew Jonathan Brookins through a friend of a friend. There were a few very interesting characters on the show this year and some really top fighters. Jeff Lentz was a very funny guy in the house, and Jonathan Brookins is a sick fighter and one to keep an eye on.
Everybody had their own little role and personality in the house and it made for a really entertaining blend of characters. I was pretty much just the joker in the house, as I was always laughing and looking to have a good time. I don't know whether it will come across that way on television, but we'll have to wait and see.
All in all, I was just ecstatic to be in the house, as that was something I'd aimed for over the years and something I'd always hoped would happen for me. It's all just another step towards getting in the UFC and facing the best guys in the world...
Brit hope Aaron Wilkinson's attempt to become The Ultimate Fighter continues Tuesday, September 28, only on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports 2 HD
Aaron Wilkinson was speaking to Elliot Worsell