The 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter will feature higher stakes than most, as the UFC announced on Tuesday that 16 flyweight competitors will take part in order to crown the next challenger for the UFC Flyweight Championship.
Unlike the TUF tournament in most seasons, where the TUF winner is crowned at the finale event, the entire tournament will take place during filming, with the winner meeting the UFC Flyweight Champion at December’s Finale event in Las Vegas.
Tryouts for the season will take place on April 25 in Las Vegas, and are open to any competitors with at least three professional fights and a winning record.
From the press release:
World class coaches, guest coaches, and former opponents of the current champion will be brought in throughout the season to break down film and help the contestants tailor their training to a game plan designed to help them become the next UFC champion. The two finalists will compete in the final episode of the season and the winner will face the flyweight champion at the Finale just days after the season concludes.
The UFC Flyweight Championship will be on the line at UFC 197 later this month, as its only Champion, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, defends the belt against Olympic gold medalist wrestler Henry Cejudo.
Penick’s Analysis: It’s an intriguing gimmick for the show, which is needed over the same thing season after season. Having it be less about the coaches this time around and more about the chase for a title fight could be interesting, but that also means the UFC has to have a cast of legitimate and viable flyweights. Are they going to take from the current roster? Are we going to see any of the top end competitors even attempt to go through that experience for the shot? Joseph Benavidez is more than deserving of another shot at Johnson, but the UFC doesn’t seem keen on giving that to him. He shouldn’t be lowered to TUF to get it, and I doubt he’d go for it. At the same time, there’s time for the UFC to make that third fight happen this summer and still have the winner of that fight compete in December, so we’ll have to see what they have in mind after UFC 197.
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