The UFC today announced that bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and number one contender Urijah Faber will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. This will be the program's debut on FX after 14 seasons on Spike TV beginning in 2005.
The show will debut on Friday, March 9, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET with a two-hour special. Future episodes will run one hour beginning at 10 p.m. ET. The two bantamweights will coach teams of lightweights and welterweights competing for two six figure contracts to fight for the UFC. After the season, the two coaches will fight for Cruz' title in mid-2012.
"We're producing ground-breaking television with The Ultimate Fighter LIVE and we can't wait to kick this season off with FX in March," UFC President Dana White said. "It's going to be can't-miss TV. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber are two incredible personalities who also happen to be two of the best fighters in the world. They genuinely dislike each other and I expect this to make for the best season yet."
"We believe that Dana and Lorenzo (Fertitta), along with Executive Producer Craig Piligian, have come up with exciting new changes to the format of The Ultimate Fighter that will expand and grow the series," said Chuck Saftler, Executive Vice President, FX Networks. "The fact that the fights at the end of each episode will now be televised live is certain to create a sense of urgency for UFC fans. Furthermore, the move of TUF to Friday nights will provide a great ratings boost to the network."
Cruz and Faber have fought twice before, splitting the two fights. Faber won their first bout via guillotine choke in 2007 when he was the WEC featherweight (145lbs) champion. In 2011, Cruz took a five round decision when Faber challenged him for the bantamweight (135lbs) title at UFC 132.