The MMA Corner is proud to announce Robert “Bubba” McDaniel as our The Ultimate Fighter: Jones vs. Sonnen fighter-blogger.

McDaniel is a native of Texas and trains out of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, N.M.  The middleweight fighter made it into the TUF house with a second-round TKO of Ryan Bigler in the elimination round.  He was selected by Jon Jones to be a member of Team Jones. McDaniel holds a professional record of 20-6 and strives to be a fighter that the world respects as someone to be reckoned with.

In this edition, McDaniel reflects on the happenings of episodes one and two of the reality series.  He’ll return each week with a new blog to share his point of view on the experience of participating in the competition.

Episode One

Before I received word that I had a fight to get on to the show, I was training like a mad man just trying to be in the right shape to make weight as many times as would be required if I got the call.

Then I got my package and in it was 4 tickets to bring people to the elimination fights! I was super stoked that I would be able to have my friends and family there with me to have an extra support system in place just in case I ended up losing. Because, that would be a heart breaking time when I would want people to be there with me…

Then we arrived at the hotel and started cutting weight for the next day’s weigh in. Sitting in that room watching TV while I was completely drained was my only comfort for the time being.

Then the weigh-ins happen and we get to eat so I’m feeling much happier about being there until they brought the camera to my room and let my sister come see me. I couldn’t help but feel emotional. It had been a year since I had seen her or any of my family for that matter. It gave me a feeling of inspiration and meaning again for being there to show the world my skills in the cage.

Now its fight day and it was awesome pulling up to the training center for what I was hoping was my first fight on the show.

Fight after fight happened then it was my turn and I had a weird sense that I was meant to win this fight and it will all work itself out.

After a grueling first round, spent mostly on the cage pummeling for position and takedown attempts, I went to the corner with my arms getting a little fatigued but was ready to give my fight that push I needed
to break my opponent and I did just that.

I went out, pushed forward, got my takedown and started working from the top and as soon as I was able to start landing shots I was in finish mode and earned my TKO victory to get in the house!!

And the best part was being able to hug the people that I had brought to watch me fight before i was once again ushered off.

Episode Two

Well as this episode begins we are all running into the house and getting ourselves settled into a room and our team took it upon itself to make sure our entire team was going to room together in one room and let the other team split the rooms as they saw fit.

I remember from the very beginning Josh and myself were taking it upon ourselves to try and push the team and take leadership roles. We had many conversations with the team about this and had planned out a strategy to get everyone a good fight – style-wise – and in the best order to keep everyone healthy and on track for the multiple weigh-ins we would all be encountering in the future.

This obviously isn’t the decision the coaches were coming to with us as competitors. In hindsight, I can understand how coaches wouldn’t want to be overrun before they had even had a chance to show us their strategy. But being as we are all veterans of the sport and are not used to people we don’t know controlling our careers, I don’t regret the strategy we had either.

After a few practices most of our team was concerned about what was going to happen in the fight that was approaching. And since the fight announcement hadn’t been made yet, myself and the team felt as if we needed to voice our concerns and try to get the fight pick.

Being the person I am, I volunteered to bring it up to the coaches and express my concern about the whole situation. Basically, I begged them to reconsider the pick before we took a risk with the fight they had chosen. The fight after all would determine the rest of the team’s fate for the next fight pick and having control of that makes things a lot easier on all of us mentally. It gives you proper time to prepare for your upcoming bout.

Ultimately the effort was in vane and caused a good bit of turmoil and controversy between me and Gilbert. It was unintended but I would have probably been pissed off about it too if I were in his shoes.

Then the fight happened and as I feared, Luke came out victorious leaving us to wonder about the next fight pick. I will say this, Gilbert gave Luke a better fight than I thought he would, which showed he was a opponent and he did have moments of flash were I had hope of him winning the fight.

Next was the fight pick for Team Sonnen and I knew that Uriah has his eye on a fight with Clint, Josh, or myself. So, at that point I had it in my head that I was about to be called out. But then all of a sudden, Adam Cella was called out, which I was excited about because in our strategy for fight picks that is the fight that Adam has chosen for himself. He believed he would give Uriah trouble in the standup department and ultimately eliminate Uriah and gain tons of respect that he believed the other team had lacked toward him. Because in Adam’s words ” I may look pretty, but don’t get me wrong, I can [expletive] fight.”

Photo: Robert “Bubba” McDaniel (Paul Fladten/Sherdog)

About The Author

Robert "Bubba" McDaniel

Robert "Bubba" McDaniel is an American mixed martial artist who is competing on The Ultimate Fighter 17. He has fought for Bellator, EliteXC and King of the Cage in his 26-fight career. The middleweight has competed against UFC veteran Gerald Harris, TUF alum Kyacey Uscola and Bellator tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko. Fifteen of Bubba's 20 career wins have come by submission. The 29-year-old Texan now lives in Albuquerque, N.M. and works at L.A. Boxing. McDaniel has two children: Emma, who is eight, and Bryan, who is seven. Following each week of the show, the Team Jones fighter will blog about his experience leading up to the finale on Saturday, April 13.