For the first time, women are joining the battle to win the bragging rights as an Ultimate Fighter champion.
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.