The featherweights and bantamweights are moving to the UFC in rapid fashion starting in December, but it may be a little while before we see them coach on “The Ultimate Fighter.”
UFC president Dana White, when the merger with the WEC was first announced, mentioned that a show centered on the 145-pound and 135-pound divisions was a definite possibility in the near future, but putting a top pair in as coaches may be a little further off.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com over the UFC 123 weekend, White believes that fans need to get to know the best of the best at featherweight and bantamweight before taking them out of the picture for six months to coach and appear on the show.
“Anything is possible,” White said about the lighter weight fighters becoming coaches on TUF. “The thing I don’t like about doing them right now is you take these guys out of the mix for months, and we’re just introducing these guys. The last thing I want to do is introduce them and then put them on the shelf for however long.”
The UFC president knows that once fans set eyes on fighters like Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber, and Miguel Torres, that they will become avid followers of the featherweights and bantamweights, even without an “Ultimate Fighter” treatment to boost their popularity.
“You don’t have to watch ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ to like Jose Aldo,” said White. “You just have to see this kid fight. Now that’s he’s on the big stage and he’ll get that co-main event slot. People are going to learn who this guy is real quick.”
Obviously the news that broke on Tuesday about Aldo’s removal from the UFC 125 fight card sets that back just a bit, but the Brazilian phenom is still just one of the many names that hope to stake a claim to stardom when they enter the Octagon.
White also said that the promotion has made little to no decisions regarding the 13th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” at this point, as far as coaches go. The UFC president has been on the road for several weeks and hoped to sit down during Thanksgiving week to start hammering out some details.
He did admit that many fans and media are asking about a potential coaching slot for Urijah Faber on the next season of the show, but at this point, nothing has been decided.
“Everbody’s been asking me that,” White said. “I don’t know. I honestly, I swear to God, I really have not even thought about it yet.”
The casting process for the new season of the show has started however, and with production set to begin in early 2011, the UFC will likely make some decisions in the next month regarding the 13th cast and coaches for “The Ultimate Fighter.”