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Rivalries: Court McGee


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No matter what happens from this point forward, Court McGee appears to have made the most of his new lease on life.

A recovering drug addict whose well-chronicled vices once left him on death’s doorstep, the Agema Jiu-Jitsu representative will confront Ramiz Brahimaj in a UFC on ESPN 32 welterweight prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. McGee owns a 9-9 record across 18 appearances in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The 37-year-old Ogden, Utah, native last competed at UFC Fight Night 188, where he closed the book on a career-worst three-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over Claudio Silva on May 22.

As McGee approaches his next assignment inside the Octagon, a look at some of the rivalries that have helped shape his inspiring career:

Kris McCray


McGee completed his fairytale ride and secured a sought-after UFC contract, as he submitted the “Savage” with a rear-naked choke in the second round of “The Ultimate Fighter 11” Finale main event on June 19, 2010 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. McCray raised the white flag 3:41 into Round 2. McGee established his superiority in the middleweight tournament final with repeated takedowns, ground-and-pound and various other close-range attacks. He executed a picture-perfect double-leg in the second round, progressed to the back and went to work on the choke, with McCray offering little in the way of meaningful resistance. McGee secured his position with one hook and then another before tightening his squeeze and prompting the tapout.

Nick Ring


The Canadian middleweight rebounded from a loss to Tim Boetsch and laid claim to a unanimous decision over McGee in the featured UFC 149 prelim on July 21, 2012 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Ring. McGee set a frenetic pace. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 winner attacked Ring with uppercuts from the clinch and relentlessly pursued the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt throughout their 15-minute encounter. Ring countered effectively—the right hook and left cross were his primary weapons—and left “The Crusher” with a bloody nose and mouth. When coupled with Ring’s accurate kicks and punches, the damage was enough to curry favor on the scorecards.

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC, PFL, Dana White’s Contender Series and “The Ultimate Fighter” live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

Robert Whittaker


McGee utilized relentless pressure and high-volume punching combinations to procure a split verdict over “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes” winner in their UFC Fight Night 27 welterweight showcase on Aug. 28, 2013 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Judges Sal D’Amato and Robert Madrigal struck 30-27 and 29-28 scorecards for McGee, while Kelvin Caldwell saw it 30-27 for Whittaker. McGee landed the most decisive blow of the bout in the first minute of Round 2, where he dropped the future middleweight champion to a knee with a short right hand. Whittaker recovered, stayed composed and answered with striking combinations of his own. Standing elbows were his most effective weapons, opening cuts above McGee’s ear and below his right eye. A sharp left jab was also part of Whittaker’s repertoire. Still, it seemed as if it was anyone’s fight as it hit the home stretch. McGee closed with a flourish, as he turned up the heat in the closing seconds with multiple right hands and outstruck the Aussie by a 34-22 margin in the final round.

Sean Strickland


A penetrating jab and airtight takedown defense carried the onetime King of the Cage champion to a unanimous decision over McGee as part of the UFC Fight Night 120 undercard on Nov. 11, 2017 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Strickland swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges. McGee never found the right combination, despite his incessant forward movement and commitment to leg kicks. Strickland chipped away with jabs and sharp right hands, all while utilizing an effective sprawl to counteract his counterpart’s advances. He struck for a takedown late in the third round, advanced to the back and hunted for the rear-naked choke. While McGee denied his efforts, the decision belonged to “Tarzan.” Advertisement
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