Though the news broke last week that former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and former World Series of Fighting titleholder Justin Gaethje would serve as coaches for the twenty-sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter, UFC officials didn’t announce the pairing and further show details until Monday.
For the second time in series history, the upcoming season of TUF will introduce a new weight class and crown a new champion.
Alvarez and Gaethje will coach 16 flyweight women throughout the season and lead them to a shot at UFC gold, with the winner of season 26 becoming the inaugural women’s 125-pound champion. Season 20 saw Carla Esparza emerge victorious earning the strawweight world title via third-round submission over Rose Namajunas. The Ultimate Fighter remains the highest rated and most watched original show on FS1 and The Ultimate Fighter: A New Champion will premiere Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 10 p.m. ET.
Former UFC champion Alvarez (28-5, 1 NC) has held a title in nearly every promotion he’s ever competed in and will utilize that world-class pedigree to groom a champion in the UFC’s 12th weight class. He has 22 finishes – 17 knockouts and five submissions – in his 28 professional wins and packs one of the most powerful punches in the 155-pound division.
After making an impression in his promotional debut during International Fight Week with a second-round knockout of No. 5 Michael Johnson, Gaethje (18-0) will set his sights on coaching the next world champion en route to taking another step toward becoming a champion himself. With 15 knockouts and one submission to his credit, Gaethje has become must-watch television every time he competes and will no doubt try to pass his highlight reel moves on to the ladies he’s coaching.
After coaching The Ultimate Fighter: A New Champion, Alvarez and Gaethje are expected to meet in the Octagon.