With The Ultimate Fighter season 12 set to premiere on Spike TV on September 15, Heavy MMA takes a look back at the top ten coaches in the series history.
Criteria will be based on a combination of overall team victories, positive influence on the careers of young fighters and pure coaching ability.
10. Randy Couture
9. Frank Mir
8. Jens Pulver
7. Forrest Griffin
6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
5. Michael Bisping
4. Chuck Liddell
3. Matt Serra
The owner of Serra Jiu-Jitsu Academies in Long Island, NY, Serra has been instructing martial arts for years. The heavy handed BJJ black belt understands the importance of building his fighters up mentally to improve their physical skill sets. On season 6, Serra was an excellent motivator and mixed in with his natural ability to instruct and corner fighters he made for a phenomenal coach on the show. Rival coach Matt Hughes almost had a nervous breakdown after losing six straight fights to Team Serra.
2. Rashad Evans
Evans came closer to clean sweeping the opposing team than any other TUF coach before him. Team Rashad went 7-1 in the preliminary round over Team Rampage and that is due mostly to Evan’s superb guidance. Evans’ focused on the one area which is often neglected in MMA training camps—the mental game. Evans is an extremely confident athlete so it was only natural that he was able to rub off some of that poise onto his team. In addition, Evans won season 2 in the heavyweight division so from being in the situation before he was able to relate to the fighters on his team more so than “Rampage” was able to.
1. Tito Ortiz
On season 3 “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” opened eyes with his impressive coaching approach. In fact, after watching Ortiz coach on the reality series many of his haters were converted into fans. The former light heavyweight champion poured his heart and soul into his team. Unlike opposing coach and arch rival Ken Shamrock who seemed to care more about himself than being there for the young guys.
Ortiz wasn’t as successful in terms of team victories on season 11 but he still treated every fighter on his team as if they were his children. Despite losing a majority of the matchups to Chuck Liddell’s team, Ortiz never once gave up on his fighters. Love him or hate him, we may never see another TUF coach care for his team as much as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” did.
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