Best Ultimate Fighter Coaches
With 16 seasons of The Ultimate Fighter in the can and a Cung Le politicking to become the next coach, Fightline has decided to look back at some of the best coaches TUF has had to offer.
Matt Serra (TUF 6)
Who better to coach a season of The Ultimate Fighter than a former winner? Matt Serra would be the first former tenant of The Ultimate Fighter house that would return in a coaching capacity.
While Serra wouldn't have a fighter in the finals in the sixth iteration of TUF he out-coached the UFC Hall of Famer by a landslide in the opening rounds, having six of his fighters advance.
Serra communicated with his fighters well, put together an excellent coaching staff, and actually looked to make sure they got the most out of The Ultimate Fighter experience.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (TUF 8)
If The American MMA audience didn't know about Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera's positive attitude, they did after the eighth season of the series.
"Minotauro's" jovial personality and near paternal instincts went a long way in solidifying his relationship with his team.
Nogueira was really the first coach to get involved with his team outside of the gym, actively looking to create a comfortable environment for the entire cast.
The former PRIDE Champ has long been one of the premier fighters on the planet, and while that should be enough of a selling point, it really doesn't hurt when you can have Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida come in and train your combatants.
"Minotauro" produced 3/4 of the season's finalists, with two going to become "The Ultimate Fighter".
Chuck Liddell (TUF 1 and 11)
Chuck Liddell has twice coached The Ultimate Fighter and both occasions have seen "The Iceman's" fighters have his hand raised.
Liddell was part of the first generation of true mixed martial artists, as a result, he had a lot to show his team. Chuck was actively involved in all aspects of his team's TUF experience, which was never more apparent than his sitting in the sauna with a half-dead Bobby Southworth until he hit the mark.
The former champion has produced a perfect 3/3 winners across two runs.
Michael Bisping (TUF 9 & 14)
From Michael Bisping's season 3 graduation from the Ultimate Fighter to his return for the ninth and fourteenth installments, he not only showed improvements as a fighter, but displayed a knack for coaching.
Michael seemed to genuinely enjoy being in the coaching position, and that sense of joy seemed to transfer over to his team, who seemed enthralled to be learning from the Brit, who also seemed interested in turning his fighters into a real team.
"The Count's" TUF runs saw three winners crowned.
Rashad Evans (TUF 10)
Rashad Evans proved to be one of best coaches in TUF history. The then Jackson's MMA product not only brought his well-rounded set of skills to his season 10 return to the gym, but also brought with him an amazing coaching staff, many of which were the men responsible for his success.
Despite a few altercations with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Rashad was focused on improving his team both physically and mentally. It was apparent who the superior coach was as "Suga's" team took the opening round of the tournament with a near shut out at 7-1.
Jason Miller (TUF 14)
Say what you will about "Mayhem" Miller as a fighter and as a human being, but one can't deny that the man proved to be an outstanding coach.
Jason hit the mats with his men like it was his job, he not only helped several fighters improve along the way, but proved to be the best, most clear and concise cornerman in the history of the show.
Mayhem's coaching style was very reminiscent of Marc Laimon, who brought him up through his career. According to Miller, he would often hear himself calling out instructions and think, "Is Marc Laimon yelling out of my mouth?" Considering his mentor's legacy, that's a good thing.
Tito Ortiz (TUF 3 and 11)
Tito Ortiz was the original great coach. Much to the surprise of TUF viewers in the third season "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" had a soft side. Ortiz was truly the first coach that connected with his fighters on a more human level, they weren't so much his team as they were his friends.
What set Ortiz apart at first was that he wasn't looking to teach fighters to be Tito proteges, but rather looked to improve their technique and cardiovascular fitness, making them better versions of themselves.