UFC President Dana White revealed during a special Q&A session in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Tuesday that the winner of a planned light heavyweight attraction between Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson at UFC 93 on January 17 will be named a head coach for the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter.
TUF 9 will feature fighters at lightweight and welterweight representing both the U.S. and UK in a head-to-head format. Michael Bisping has already been announced as the head coach of the UK team and it’s expected that he will square off against Henderson or Franklin in a pay-per-view matchup to be scheduled after TUF 9 has finished airing.
White’s proclamation that the winner of Franklin vs. Henderson would be named the U.S. coach couldn’t have been expressed any more definitively. However, revelation was still somewhat surprising considering that Franklin has been lukewarm about the idea of a second turn as a TUF coach after having served in that capacity during the show’s second season. But the former UFC middleweight champion never completely ruled the possibility out and it’s possible that recent progress has been made towards securing a commitment from him.
Tryouts for TUF’s ninth season were conducted in England and Chicago during October with many fighters expected to travel to Las Vegas later this month for followup interviews. The finalized cast for the show will likely be determined by mid-January with taping possibly beginning in Las Vegas soon after. The show is tentatively scheduled to premiere in early-April and will be preceded by a live UFC Fight Night telecast.
UFC 93 will emanate from the O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland. In addition to the main event between Henderson and Franklin, the show will also feature the return of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua taking on UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman.