The UFC have just announced that the coaches on The Ultimate Fighter Season 15 will be Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz.
The two bantamweight stars will have the privilege of being the first UFC stars to front the show when it moves to FX in 2012 with a new revamped live format.
Cruz is of course the current 135lb champion and has fought Faber twice before, with each having one win over the other. It had already been established that the two men would fight each other again, but now the stakes have been raised further with the TUF coaching role.
It’s a smart move by the UFC. Faber is the perfect ambassador for the sport on a mainstream platform live FX with his easy going, charismatic personality and clean-cut looks.
He’s also already proven he has legitimate star power in the WEC where he was able to pull in TV numbers on Versus for his biggest fights that even the UFC struggled to match.
While Faber has always been a fan favorite, Cruz has more of a love-hate relationship with them, but he’s an interesting character, is one of the most dominant champions in the UFC and knows how to carry himself in front of the camera so like Faber he’s a safe bet for such an important show for the UFC.
As is well established by now it always helps if there’s some kind of rivalry between the opposing coaches to help generate ratings, and there’s always been bad blood between these two so all in all it has the makings of a solid season.
Dana White clearly agrees.
“It’s going to be can’t-miss TV,” White said in the press release to announce the coaches. “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.”
FX’s Executive Vice President Chuck Saftler is also excited by the upcoming season which he thinks can be a ratings winner for the network in it’s Friday night slot.
“We believe that Dana and Lorenzo (Fertitta), along with Executive Producer Craig Piligian, have come up with exciting new changes to the format of The Ultimate Fighter that will expand and grow the series. The fact that the fights at the end of each episode will now be televised live is certain to create a sense of urgency for UFC fans. Furthermore, the move of TUF to Friday nights will provide a great ratings boost to the network.”
Of course the contestants competing for the prize of becoming the next ‘Ultimate Fighter’ will also have a big role to play, but both Faber and Cruz are promising to do their part to make it a memorable season.
“This is a dream come true,” Cruz stated. “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.”
“Having Dominick coach on the opposite side couldn’t be more perfect,” Faber said. “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.”
The show will begin on FX on March 9th and will continue on for 13 weeks with live elimination fights every Friday night.