Ramsey Nijem seemed revitalized during and after his first round TKO victory over the previously unbeaten Beneil Dariush at UFC Fight Night Abu Dhabi. Improving his record to 9-4, Nijem was fired up saying post-fight in the cage with UFC commentator Dan Hardy, “I’m here to bring a title to the middle east”.
Being of Palestinian descent and coming into Abu Dhabi to fight, Nijem at first shyed away from, but now he felt the need to represent the people of the continent and put on a performance. The former TUF 13 finalist has really shown majority in both his fight game and his mentality since his days of being nicknamed ‘Stripper Ramsey’.
“I really approached this fight like it was my title fight, this was really important to me being Palestinian-American coming into the UAE and fighting,” Nijem said. “At first when I was younger I was nervous about stepping up and being a representation for it, it’s a lot of pressure and can really weigh on you as an athlete. But I really understand the role and I really want to represent the Palestinian people, the Arab people, UAE, the whole continent, the middle east in a good light. There’s always–in the news you see negative this and that, fighting and war. I want to show that there’s more and we accomplish great things and that we’re a really strong nation, strong people.”
But the victory did not come easy as Ramsey Nijem had to battle a lot of the emotions leading up to the fight and on his way out to cage.
“Definitely really hard, if I let my emotions get the best of me that’s usually when I struggle in fights,I get really amped up really easily so I’m always trying to calm myself down,” Nijem said. “It was something else, my dad called me the other night, he was crying on the phone. It really means a lot to my family, like people don’t understand the heavy weight of being a refugee and growing up in the states and all that.”
“So it definitely was an amazing scene, my dad and family couldn’t have been more proud, they called me and said ‘win or lose we’re still proud of you’. I really took that momentum and love and support from them all and just brought it into the fight. Yeah, I really tried to not let my emotions get the best of me. It really hasn’t sunk in yet, so maybe a little bit later tonight”