Faced with the challenge of outdoing its current historic, adrenaline-charged season of The Ultimate Fighter®, the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) today confirmed that the next season of its long-running reality series will feature former champions “The Prodigy” BJ Penn and Frankie “The Answer” Edgar as coaches. The storied foes will coach a cast of middleweight (185 lbs.) and light heavyweight (205 lbs.) fighters in their quest to win the title of Ultimate Fighter and a six-figure contract with the UFC.
“BJ Penn is moving down to 145 lbs. to coach The Ultimate Fighter against Frankie Edgar,” said UFC President Dana White. “BJ really hates the fact that he lost to Frankie Edgar. It’s something that’s been burning deep inside of him for three years now. So he’s moving down to 145 lbs. to not only avenge those defeats, but to try and become the first fighter in UFC history to win titles in three different weight classes.”
Widely considered one of the greatest fighters in UFC history, Penn (16-9-2 in MMA) is one of only two men to win UFC world titles in two separate divisions. The former welterweight and lightweight champion has defeated a Who’s Who of MMA, including UFC champions Matt Hughes, Matt Serra and Sean Sherk. His reign over the UFC’s 155lbs. division was ended in 2010’s Upset of the Year, when he was outpointed by Frankie Edgar. “The Prodigy” not only returns to the UFC but also The Ultimate Fighter, after coaching season five back in 2007.
After defeating Penn in two fights, Edgar (15-4-1) established a reputation for lightweight excellence. “The Answer” defended the lightweight championship in a pair of all-time classic battles with Gray Maynard before losing the title on a controversial decision to Benson Henderson. Edgar then dropped to featherweight, where many believe he will join Penn as a two-division world champion.
The series begins filming in mid-October in Las Vegas.
Catch all new episodes of this season of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate, Wednesday’s at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
About the Ultimate Fighting Championship®
Universally recognized for its action-packed, can’t-miss events that have sold out some of the biggest arenas and stadiums across the globe, the UFC® is the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, headquartered in Las Vegas and with offices in London, Toronto and Beijing, UFC produces more than 30 live events annually and is the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. In 2012, the UFC burst into the mainstream with a landmark seven-year broadcast agreement with FOX Sports Media Group. The agreement includes four live events broadcast on the FOX network annually, with additional fight cards and thousands of hours of programming broadcast on FOX properties FX and FUEL TV. This also includes the longest-running sports reality show on television, The Ultimate Fighter®, on FOX Sports 1.
In addition to its reach on FOX, UFC programming is broadcast in over 145 countries, to nearly 800 million TV households worldwide, in 28 different languages. UFC content is also distributed commercially in the United States to bars and restaurants through Joe Hand Promotions, in English throughout Canada via Premium Sports Broadcasting Inc. and Australia via Main Event and in French throughout Quebec via Interbox. The UFC also connects with tens of millions of fans through its website, UFC.com, as well as social media sites Facebook and Twitter. UFC President Dana White is considered one of the most accessible and followed executives in sports, with nearly 2.4 million followers on Twitter. Ancillary UFC businesses include best-selling DVDs and video games, UFC FIT®, an in-home fitness and nutrition program, an internationally distributed magazine, UFC.TV offering live event broadcasts and video on demand around the world, a new franchise in development with EA, UFC GYM®, UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo® festivals, branded apparel and trading cards.
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