UFC: Welcome to the 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter! How does it feel to be here and to be part of this season?
Phillips: It’s crazy. It’s not a place I ever believed I would be. From where I’m from and applying and now I’m here, it’s crazy. Just being here has been a dream come true. I’m having a lot of fun with it. I can feel the weight of the season – it’s here and I’m thrilled.
UFC: You’ve had an interesting journey to make it onto the show. What was it like training in Alaska in such a remote area?
Philips: What I had to do to get here. Where I trained there were no gyms, and I made my own little gym, training in negative weather. This is a big opportunity for me and I’m not going to do anything to spoil that. This is awesome. Every day in Kotzebue, a small little rural town in Alaska, being an Inupiaq guy and growing up with the culture there, I knew I had to do something to train if I was going to pursue this career.
I’ve never had coaches. I’ve never done anything other than watch YouTube videos and learn. This is going to be great. Everything I’ve done has been an experiment for everything that I’ve done for myself and for fighting. It will be great to get a baseboard to build on.
UFC: Why do you think you’re going to be the last man standing in this competition? Why will you win The Ultimate Fighter season 29?
Phillips: I like to be in the person’s face; I like to keep the pressure on. I don’t like to be more than an arm’s length away and that’s something I can really bring to the table. This is training that I’ve never had before, and I’ve always adapted really well, and I’ve always grown really fast and learned really quick, and I have the mindset to do it. I think I’m going to come out on top.
Make sure you tune in to season 29 of The Ultimate Fighter, which airs live on ESPN+ on June 1st at 9pm ET / 6pm PT.