The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced on Tuesday that the upcoming fifteenth season of its hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter will be coached by reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion “The Dominator” Dominick Cruz (18-1) and his title challenger and long-time foe, “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (26-5).
Faber handed Cruz his first and only professional loss, via Guillotine Choke, at WEC 26 in March of 2007. The pair faced off a second time at UFC 132 this past July, at which time Cruz retained his bantamweight title by defeating the former WEC Featherweight Champion unanimously on the judges’ score cards. Cruz and Faber’s long standing rivalry will likely generate fireworks during their tenure on the TUF series and set the scene for the championship rubber match to come in mid-2012.
Cruz said, “This is a dream come true. To get a chance to coach TUF and beat Faber again is all the motivation I need. This is going to be an insane season of The Ultimate Fighter.”
“I can’t wait to be the next coach on The Ultimate Fighter,” said 32-year-old Faber. “I am looking forward to mentoring a bunch of hungry and talented fighters…I can’t wait to mentally beat [Dominick Cruz] up as a coach, and then literally beat him up in the cage and swipe that UFC strap.”
The two-hour season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter LIVE debuts Friday, March 9 at 9pm ET/PT; each of the subsequent 13 weeks will feature a one-hour-long show starting at 10pm ET/PT on Fridays. Aside from its new live format, The Ultimate Fighter is abandoning its flagship network Spike TV and joining forces with FOX affiliate FX as part of its seven-year deal with the media giant.
Both lightweight and welterweight contestants are slated to compete in Season 15 for two, six-figure UFC contracts.