Unlike in previous years, UFC officials didn’t make fans wait long to find out who will serve as coaches on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter as it has been announced that UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and top contender Urijah Faber will mentor up-and-coming lightweights and welterweights on The Ultimate Fighter 15. The season will debut on March 9 on FX with a two hour premiere episode at 9PM EST and then move permanently to a one hour format at 10PM the following week. The season is scheduled to last 13 weeks.
The show, which has aired on Spike TV since it’s premiere in 2005, will move to FX starting in 2012 and take on a live format for the first time ever. Each week fans will not only see Cruz and Faber train their team of competitors but they’ll see the elimination fight live on the show.
“We’re producing ground-breaking television with ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Live,’ and we can’t wait to kick this season off with FX in March. It’s going to be can’t-miss TV,” said UFC president Dana White. “Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber are two incredible personalities who also happen to be two of the best fighters in the world. They genuinely dislike each other, and I expect this to make for the best season yet.”
Once the show wraps up, Cruz and Faber will meet for a third time in a five-round title fight for Cruz’s divisional strap. The two are 1-1 in their series with Faber handing Cruz the only loss of his career back in 2007 in a featherweight title fight via Guillotine Choke. Cruz extracted a measure of revenge earlier this year in July when he defeated Faber by unanimous decision and defended his bantamweight title.
Both fighters are upbeat about not only coaching on the show, but also to get another chance to beat each other up.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a gym rat and love learning and teaching mixed martial arts,” stated Cruz. “This is a dream come true. To get a chance to coach TUF and beat Faber again is all the motivation I need. This is going to be an insane season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.'”
Faber had similar thoughts, saying, “I am looking forward to mentoring a bunch of hungry and talented fighters. The new cast needs to be ready to work hard and learn. Having Dominick coach on the opposite side couldn’t be more perfect. I’m not too thrilled about being in each other’s space for an extended period of time, as I am sure we are going to get on each other’s nerves. But I can’t wait to mentally beat him up as a coach and then literally beat him up in the cage and swipe that UFC strap.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC