The UFC will always be remembered as the highest peak of the mountain when it comes to combat sports. Since its establishment way back in 1993, we have witnessed hundreds, if not thousands of bitter rivalries that have entertained lovers of the brutal sport for almost 30 years.
The team has always done everything they can to keep us fight fans hooked. From documentary stories to televised escapades of the exceptional array of talents the roster has to offer. But none will ever stand out more than the two tournaments’ put together by Dana white and the team, based out of Las Vegas Nevada in Dana White’s Contender series and The Ultimate Fighter.
The Ultimate Fighter series has brought the entertainment factor to the brutal yet exhilarating world of mixed martial arts to screens across the globe.
What is the Ultimate Fighter Series?
The Ultimate Fighter is an American reality television series and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It previously aired for fourteen seasons on Spike TV.
The show features professional MMA fighters living together in Las Vegas, Nevada, and follows them as they train and compete against each other for a prized six-figure contract with the UFC. Now the 30th season has concluded, it has played host and been the birthplace of so many exceptional MMA practitioners to ever have graced the Octagon.
As previously stated, season 30 has concluded with Bitter rivals Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes and Julianna ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ Peña who coached their respective fighters in the bid to get a chance to showcase their prolific arsenals on the biggest stage of them all. Peña came out victorious and has left fans eagerly anticipating the 31st season.
We will now take a look back at some of the most exciting moments the content has to offer. From some of the most stand-out contestants, unforgettable Knock-outs to some of the most explosive rivalries by each coach. These are my personal moments I’ll not soon forget when thinking back at the historic moments this contest has put on offer.
Ultimate Fighter Champions
We take a trip back to where it all began back in 2005, Sixteen mixed martial arts fighters (eight light heavyweights weighing from 186 to 205 lb and eight middleweights weighing from 171 to 185 lb) were invited to participate in the show where they resided together and trained in two separate teams coached by UFC light heavyweight fighters Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell and Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture.
Forest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar
When looking back on the historic debut of the Ultimate Fighter, it’s hard to forget the absolute barn burner of a collision between Forrest Griffin and Stephan ‘The American Psycho’ Bonnar in the season finale. Forrest Griffin ended up winning the bout, but one of the greatest bouts ever witnessed in the cage, earned them both a place to go on the take centre stage in the UFC.
Stephan ‘The American Psycho’ Bonnar 15-9-0 is an American former Professional Mixed Martial Artist who previously competed in the Light-heavyweight division and represented Xtreme Couture. He competed for Ironheart Crown, the Indiana Regional’s, Jungle Fight Championship, Total Fight Challenge, Bellator, The Ultimate Fighter and UFC.
Throughout his UFC career, Bonnar took on some of the most fiercest athletes the sport has ever had the privilege to witness. Rashard ‘Suga’ Evans, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones and Anderson ‘Spider’ Silva just to name a few. He later competed on season 12 and is one of only a handful ever to do so.
Forrest Griffin (2005 Champion)
Forrest Griffin is an American former Professional Mixed Martial Artist who previously competed in the Light-heavyweight division and represented Xtreme Couture. He competed for reality Super Fighting, the South African Regional’s, World Extreme Fighting, International Sport Combat Federation, the Georgia Regional’s, King of the Cage, Heat Fighting Championship, International Fighting Championship, The Ultimate Fighter and UFC.
Where some would take a tougher matchup later on in their career, in Forrest’s first professional bout he took on UFC Hall Of Famer Dan ‘The Beast’ severn for the WEF Heavyweight Championship. With such an unforgettable entrance on the professional circuit, he was always destined to hit the highest level of the fight game. After successfully completing the first ever Ultimate Fighter, Forrest would go on to face some of the greatest fighters the MMA roster had to offer in Chael ‘The American Gangster’ Sonnen, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Tito Ortiz before unfortunately retiring back in 2013.
For me, the second pinnacle moment for me in this astronomical tournament was back in 2007 for the fifth season. This season featured only one weight class, lightweights (146–155 lb) and the fighters were divided into two teams; one coached by former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver and the other by former UFC Welterweight Champion and former lightweight champion B.J Penn.
The season was well-known among fans for the large number of fighters kicked off of the show. Nate Diaz took on Rob ‘The Saint’ Emerson in the series during the tournament which skyrocketed one half of the ‘Diaz’ Brothers to some of the fiercest collisions in the Octagon.
Nate Diaz (2007 Champion)
Nate Diaz 20-13-0 is an American Professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Welterweight division, representing Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He has competed for World Extreme Cage Fighting, Pancrase, Strikeforce, The Ultimate Fighter and UFC.
Nate’s antics since winning the fifth season inside and outside of the cage have been some of the most controversial moments over his 15 years on the UFC roster. But his heated confrontations and trilogy bouts with Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor will be remembered for many years to come.
One of the most exciting and explosive athletes ever to have come out of the phenomenal tournament is set to take his final walk to the Octagon on September 10th. taking on Khamzat ‘Borz’ Chimaev at the T-Mobile arena in Nevada at UFC 279.
Rob ‘The Saint’ Emerson 20-15-0 is an American Professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Bantamweight division, representing MMA Lab. He has competed for the Minnesota Regional’s, King of the Cage, the California Regional’s, Shooto USA, DEEP, Total Combat, Reality Combat Fighting, Pancrase, PureCombat, Art of Fighting, the Colorado Regional’s, Tachi Palace Fights, Fight Club OC, Victory Fighting Championship, Absolute Championship Berkut, Akhmat Fight Club, Absolute Championship Akhmat, Gamebred Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA, The Ultimate Fighter and UFC.
Like many others who have competed in the finale of the Ultimate Fighter series, joined the roster shortly after the tournament in 2008. Before Rob Emerson replaced Gabe Ruediger against Corey Hill, he had his own war with Nate Diaz. Both men had a rivalry heading into this fight because of what had happened in the house before their meeting in the lion’s den.
Although not making as many appearances as Nate, Rob found success not just with the UFC but Bellator MMA also. Facing the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Nik ‘The Carny’ Lentz in his UFC appearances. Along with his bouts with Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Taimanglo and Jared ‘Evil Eyes’ Downing with Bellator, it just goes to show that Dana White will always choose the best of the best to partake in one of the biggest MMA tournaments in the world.
These fearless warriors have cemented themselves in the MMA history books for being the foundations for what this prolific tournament stands for 17 years on. These are my top two and but a glimpse of what us fight fans have had the opportunity of witnessing. If I was to name each and every brutally entertaining world that has ever transpired within the Ultimate Fighter, I could quite possibly still be writing this well into 2032 lol.
As well as the extraordinary talent on offer from this gripping series, there have been many legendary coaches acting as the whetstone that sharpens the proverbial blade which is the contestants all looking to reach the grandest prize of all, a UFC contract.
List of Ultimate Fighter Series
Before our final thoughts, below we shall give you the list of all the previous Ultimate Fighter series with the coaches and champions in each series.
Season 1: Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell vs Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture.
Champion: Forrest Griffin
Season 2: Matt Hughes vs Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin
Champion: Rashard Evans
Season 3: Tito ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ Ortiz vs Ken ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’ Shamrock
Champion: Matt Hamill
Season 4: Instead of coaches, prominent trainers and UFC fighters acted as advisors. Randy Couture, Georges St-Pierre, Marc Laimon, the grappling instructor from seasons 1 and 2, and Mark DellaGrotte, Kenny Florian’s kickboxing trainer, were the advisers. The cast still lived in seclusion in the Las Vegas house.
Champion: Matt Serra
Season 5: BJ ‘The Prodigy’ Penn vs Jens ‘Little Evil’ Pulver
Champion: Nate Diaz
Season 6: Matt Hughes vs Matt ‘The Terror’ Serra
Champion: Matt Danzig
Season 7: Forrest Griffin vs Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson
Champion: Amir Sadollah
Season 8: Frank Mir vs Antônio Rodrigo ‘Mintauro’ Nogueira
Chanpion: Efrain Escudero
Season 9: Dan ‘Hendo’ Henderson vs Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping
Champion: Ross Pearson
Season 10: Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs Rashad ‘Suga’ Evans
Champion: Roy Nelson
Season 11: Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin vs Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell
Champion: Kris McCray
Season 12: George ‘rush’ st pierre vs josh ‘Kos’ koscheck
Champion: Jonathan Brookins
Season 13: Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping vs Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller
Champion: Tony Ferguson
Season 14: Dominick The Dominator’ cruz vs urijah ‘The California Kid’ faber
Champion: Johnny Bedford
Season 15: Ross ‘The Real Deal’ Pearson vs george sotiropoulos
Champion: Michael Chiesa
Season 16: Jon ‘Bones’ Jones vs Chael ‘The American Gangster’ Sonnen
Champion: Colton Smith
Season 17: Fabricio ‘Vai Cavalo’ werdum vs Antônio Rodrigo ‘Mintauro’ Nogueira
Champion: Kelvin Gastelum
Season 18: Ronda ‘Rowdy’ Rousey vs Miesha ‘Cupcake’ Tate
Champion: Leonardo Santos
Season 19: Patrick ‘The Predator’ Cote vs Kyle ‘KO’ Noke
Champion: Roger Zapata
Season 20: Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar vs BJ ‘The Prodigy’ Penn
Champion: Jessica Penne
Season 21: Anthony ‘Showtime’ pettis vs Gilbert ‘El Nino’ Melendez
Champion: Kamaru Usman
Season 22: Fabrício ‘Vai Cavalo’ Werdum vs Cain Velasquez
Champion: Frankie Edgar
Season 23: Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs Cláudia ‘Claudinha’ Gadelha
Champion: Andrew Sanchez
Season 24: Joseph Benavidez vs Henry ‘The Messenger’ Cejudo
Champion: Demetrious Johnson
Season 25: T.J Dillashaw vs Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt
Champion: Jesse Taylor
Season 26: Eddie ‘The Underground King’ Alvarez vs Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje
Champion: Nicco Montano
Season 27: Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier vs Stipe Miocic
Champion: Brad Katona
Season 28: Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum
Champion: Pannie Kianzad
Season 29: Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski vs Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega
Champion: Bryan Battle
Season 30: Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes vs Julianna ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ Peña
Champion: Muhammad Usman
We’d love to hear about your favourite experiences while watching the brutal yet exhilarating tournament. So please comment below and let us know, it truly is a true breeding ground of future champions of the UFC.