11 Fighters We’d Like To See Coach Against Each Other On The Ultimate Fighter

The UFC’s reality series The Ultimate Fighter 18 debuted on Wednesday night after a pretty great Fight Night on Fox Sports 1, and based on just the one episode, I feel confident that we’re in for a heck of a season. Sure, it also helps that Ronda Rousey admitted that she’s not happy about how she might be portrayed throughout the season as she coaches against her rival, Miesha Tate, because that means that we’re in for some outstanding emotional moments. After all, that’s what reality television is all about.

But we’re also pretty psyched about the fact that for the first time ever, we’re watching both male and female fighters compete under the same roof. That should make for not only some great TV, but – we hope – also some really entertaining and intense fights, as these young fighters would obviously all love to sign their names to that prized six-figure contract with the UFC.

As with any season of TUF, though, I can’t help but think of the other fighters that I’d like to see take on the coaching duties for an upcoming season, so I’ve been scratching my chin and trying to think of some pairings that could offer us some real excitement in the seasons ahead.

Sure, Chael Sonnen just finished coaching against UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones earlier this year, and yes, he lost to Jones in the first round of their main event match at UFC 159. However, for starters, it’s Chael Sonnen we’re talking about, and he’s always worth having on TV, whether you love him or hate him, and his fighter, Kelvin Gastelum, did go on to win that season of TUF.

But what better way to make both Sonnen and Silva, also a former TUF coach, happy than by giving them an entire season of The Ultimate Fighter to trade insults (and probably poems) and train their teams of fighters to think that the other coach is an overrated loudmouth? Ultimately, it would mean the two could finally fight, which is a win-win for both of them, as Sonnen could have the fight that he’s been demanding for so long and Silva could get Sonnen to leave him the hell alone.

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Sure, Nick Diaz claims that he has retired from MMA fighting to run his own promotion, and this would also be difficult with Nate Diaz currently fighting as a lightweight. But there’s really only one logical next step in the progression of TUF’s themes, and that’s a “Brother vs. Brother” main event.

Even if the Stockton, California native siblings don’t want to face each other in the octagon, they could at least each take their own teams and teach their fighters everything they know, with Nate having won TUF 5 and Nick being a former IFC, StrikeForce and WEC Champion. Or at the very least, they could teach young fighters how to properly give people the finger.

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Forget “Brother on Brother,” because the next, next logical step in the evolution of TUF coaching is to have the first ever three-coach season, with two current champions and one of the greatest former champions of all-time each getting a team of their weight class’ best young fighters. GSP trains his welterweights, Spider gets his Middleweights and Jon Jones works with the light heavyweights, and us lucky viewers reap the benefits of an entire season of “super fights,” before two of these legendary fighters have to step up and finally fight in a PPV main event, with the third (earning an exemption for the winning fighter) taking on the winner.

In addition to finally giving us some super fights, the UFC could also bill this as Canada vs. the U.S. vs. Brazil, as it would also be the first time that Silva has coached TUF. This may be the best idea I’ve ever had, and also the most impossible thing ever imagined.

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Even more far-fetched than a threeway super fight between three of the UFC’s greatest living legends would be this ultimate battle of two of MMA’s most successful and popular female fighters turned Hollywood action stars. Reason No. 1 this wouldn’t happen is that Carano’s MMA career apparently ended after her loss to Cyborg Justino. Reason No. 2 is that even if she was still fighting, Carano isn’t signed to the UFC (although I’m positive that wouldn’t be a problem) and reason No. 3 is Rousey claimed that she wouldn’t coach on TUF again if someone paid her $10 million.

Still, at the very least, it would be entertaining as hell to listen to Cyborg complain that Rousey and Carano are too afraid of her to let her be a coach, too.

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Honestly, after 18 seasons of TUF, I’m surprised (albeit grateful) that we haven’t had a celebrity edition yet. I would have figured that with Here Comes the Boom hitting theaters in October of 2012 that a Kevin James and Bas Rutten edition would have been a great alternative to Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson, at least for the advertising and tie-in potential. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to get rid of anything that involves week-after-week of Nelson.

But it’s never too late to make up for that oversight, and we could even involve the stars of other MMA films like Nick Nolte (Warrior), Channing Tatum (Fighting) and Dean Cain, who starred in the 2010 straight-to-DVD thriller Circle of Pain with Frank Mir, Roger Huerta and Kimbo Slice. See? The possibilities for a celebrity edition are endless.