For the first time in the show’s history, two female coaches are training competitors head-to-head: UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and bantamweight challenger Meisha Tate.
Season 18 also marks the first time men and women will be training and living under the same roof — so expect to see the obvious conflicts when ladies and gentlemen get put in close proximity…with a title like the Ultimate Fighter champion on the line.
In Wednesday’s debut episode, a field of 32 hopefuls will endure elimination fights and be whittled down to 16 — eight men and eight women — who will then move into the TUF house and battle for one of the most coveted titles in MMA.
And bank on a whole extra layer of tension between the two coaches vying to train an Ultimate Fighter winner. Rousey and Tate are set for a December title bout at UFC 168 — and reports indicate the chilly rivalry between the two only intensified during the show’s taping.
“Having the opportunity to help fighters kick off their careers – especially the women – is an amazing experience,” Rousey said in a statement. “I’ve had the chance to be a guest on past episodes, and I felt the passion, determination and commitment these fighters bring to the sport.”
The show’s two-hour premiere debuts on FOX Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET.