Mike Ricci 'I think pound for pound, Ronda Rousey is the best fighter on the planet'

USA TODAY Sports

Lightweight standout, Mike Ricci discusses the change that TriStar has undergone, his crazy love affair with McDonald's and his favorite fighter, Ronda Rousey.

Friday night marks a new beginning for Titan Fighting, as this card will be the first under new owner, Jeff Aronson. They've got a very solid line-up, with a lightweight main event that's gotten plenty of media and fan attention in the days leading up to fight night.

Mike Ricci vs Jorge Gurgel has all the makings of a barn-burner, especially since both seem to have ramped up their training camps a good deal. In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Ricci discusses the change that TriStar has undergone, his crazy love affair with McDonald's and his favorite fighter, Ronda Rousey. Here's what he had to say:

Finish bonus

I've been in that situation before, with TUF. When you get a finish, you get a bonus there, too. Obviously that's incentive for guys to perform, and that's what I'm looking to do. I don't want this fight to carry on for very long. I'll fight Jorge for as long as I have to, but I'm going to be looking for that finish.

I'm sure guys are going to take a few more shots and a few more chances, but I don't expect to see backflips and flying armbars and shit like that, though.

How do I do it? How do I drive by a McDonald's and not get it is the better question here.

McDonald's

I grew up on that stuff; it was always my favorite food. I've never gained weight when I've eaten it, never felt bad at all. It's my favorite place to eat. I have all their recipes and I'll even make their stuff at home. I make Big Macs, fries, quarter pounders...I don't make the chicken nuggets, but I make their burgers and sauces and fries. I do make it a little healthier because I buy higher quality meat and ingredients.

I've tried to cut back on it a lot, but I've actually eaten it like 5 days out from a fight. The fish filet is my Number 1 burger, followed by the Big Mac. I order my Big Mac with bacon and the fish sandwich with extra cheese and tartar sauce. I'm all about it if I've had a few drinks, but I'm also the kind of guy that will hit the drive thru all alone. It's sad to say, but I do it frequently.

If I'm not in a training camp for a fight, I'll have it once a week. Sometimes I'll miss a week, sometimes I'll eat it 2 or 3 times in a week. In a training camp, I'll have it once or twice, but I don't get crazy. I just get a small cheeseburger or a small fries. The last time I ate some was about 2 weeks ago. How do I do it? How do I drive by a McDonald's and not get it is the better question here [laughs].

Keeping up with MMA

I'm not an MMA fan at all. I don't watch anyone's interviews. When I punch in at the gym, I work, but when I punch out, that's it. I might catch 1 UFC card every couple months, and if someone I know isn't on the card, I don't bother. I am a Rousey fan, but not the other champions. I don't care to watch any of their fights. I won't watch a Cain Velasquez fight. I won't watch a Jose Aldo fight. I'm just not really a big fan.

I think pound for pound, Ronda is the best fighter in the world, male or female, just put aside gender. I really think she's better than Jon Jones, Jose Aldo, Renan Barao...I think she's the best fighter on the planet right now.

Ronda Rousey

You can debate whether or not the stoppage was early, but Sara McMann was on the floor, facing away and not really properly defending herself. Herb Dean made a judgment call. It's easy for us to say stuff when we're watching the replay, but when it's happening right in front of you, a judgment call has to be made. I'm not going to scrutinize his decision. I don't think it was a bad call anyway.

Ronda is just so strong. She bullied Sara up against the fence, and even though Sara was landing some good, clean shots, Ronda was just too much for her. I think pound for pound, Ronda is the best fighter in the world, male or female, just put aside gender. I really think she's better than Jon Jones, Jose Aldo, Renan Barao...I think she's the best fighter on the planet right now.

Training

Camp went well. I had probably the best training camp I've ever had this time. As far as my thoughts on the fight, it's just another fight for me. Gurgel is just another opponent.

We've made a lot of changes at Tri-Star and it's going to start showing. It already has with Rory (MacDonald). All our guys are winning and looking better, and I'm not surprised at all.

When we train now, we leave the friendship outside the gym. We've learned to look past that element now, and we train like we're hired guns now. We focused on form, technique and strategy, and sort of lost sight of the fact that at the end of the day, we're fighters. We've added that aggression back into our training and I think it's going to show in all our performances.

I've been training much more aggressively, and it will show Friday night. I've improved leaps and bounds from my last fight. I'm not even worried, and I'm not second guessing it. I know how hard I've trained, so I know how I'll fight.

You can follow Mike via his Twitter account, @MikeyRicci

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