The landmark 25th season of The Ultimate Fighter will feature two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world as coaches with newly minted bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt coaching opposite former teammate and arch nemesis TJ Dillashaw, the former titleholder and current No. 2-ranked contender seeking a return to the top.
Garbrandt and Dillashaw trained alongside one another at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif., where Garbrandt still resides. Since Dillashaw moved his camp to Colorado to train with Duane Ludwig, the two have jawwed back-and-forth in the media. The latest hot button between the two has been Garbrandt’s insistence that he knocked Dillashaw out in training, while the former champ denies anything of the sort.
Garbrandt and Dillashaw will lead a cast of welterweights who all have redemption on their mind. Every member of the TUF 25 cast, including one athlete on the current UFC roster and previous Ultimate Fighter winners, have competed on a previous season of the show, which remains the highest rated and most watched original program on FS1, and look to prove they belong in the upper echelon of one of UFC’s most stacked divisions. The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption will premiere with a two-hour episode on Wednesday, April 19 at 10 p.m. ET.
With a perfect 11-0 record, Garbrandt is proof that the future is now for the next wave of UFC superstars. The Team Alpha Male product defeated arguably the most dominant champion in Zuffa history, Dominick Cruz, at UFC 207 last month in dominating fashion. At just 25 years old, “No Love” is quickly becoming a fan favorite and has already made each of his fights a must-see event. With nine wins by knockout, seven in the first round, Garbrandt has the one-punch knockout power that has made him one of the most feared athletes in mixed martial arts.
A member of season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter, Dillashaw (15-3) is no stranger to the power and platform the competition provides. He’s one of six athletes who have competed on the show and gone on to become a UFC champion (Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping, Matt Serra, and Carla Esparza are the others).
When he meets Garbrandt in the Octagon after the season concludes, Dillashaw will also be looking for redemption as he attempts to regain the world title he feels is rightfully his.