The concept of the series as a whole has definitely been ground-and-pounded to death, but The Ultimate Fighter is still chugging along, and yesterday’s announcement of TUF 24’s “hook” might just make things interesting again.
Instead of filling the roster with aspiring fighters, TUF 24 is all about the regional MMA champs getting a shot. As per an official release:
Champions from around the world will descend upon Las Vegas for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter®. This season, 16 seeded competitors, all champions in their current promotion, will be coached by two former flyweight title challengers, top-ranked Joseph Benavidez and No. 2 Henry Cejudo. Season 24 of the long-running UFC® reality show debuts Wednesday, August 31 at 10 p.m. ET on FS1. The series is the network’s highest-rated and most-watched original program since inception in August 2013. Last season’s finale, headlined by a strawweight world title bout between coaches Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha in, was the most-watched on FS1 since the first fall season in 2013.
Currently riding a five-fight winning streak, Benavidez (24-4, fighting out of Las Cruces, N.M.) has met current 125-pound kingpin Demetrious Johnson twice and will utilize the experience gained in those two encounters to help guide his squad of eight fighters from around the world. In addition to his matchups with “Mighty Mouse,” Benavidez has blown through the competition in the 125-pound division and racked up victories over the best flyweights in the world, including Zach Makovsky, Ian McCall and Jussier Formiga.
Coaching opposite Benavidez this season is Olympic gold medalist, Cejudo (10-1, fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz.), whose only professional loss has come at the hands of Johnson. Cejudo became the youngest American to earn gold in wrestling at the 2008 games in Beijing. After representing his country on the world’s stage, he turned his attention to MMA, where he holds victories over some of the sport’s elite, including former title challenger Chris Cariaso.
The show will feature 12 episodes airing Wednesdays on FS1. Each episode’s winner will advance in the single-elimination tournament. In a new twist from previous seasons, the two finalists will meet in the last fight in the house to determine who will receive a shot at the UFC flyweight world title at the finale in December.
Below is a full list of competitors (name, professional record, promotion, age and fighting out of):