Maybe not many people care, but I am always interested to see the coaching match-ups on the Ultimate Fighter. The 13th season will take place in the eary part of 2011 with filming beginning in January or February. The cast appears to consist of middleweights (185 lbs.) and welterweights (170 lbs.). With the filming start date approaching the UFC brass certainly has to be thinking about potential coaches as the coaches are more of a draw to viewers than the actual fighters themselves.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
I don’t know if this one would actually pan out, but both guys have mentioned a desire to fight one another and Wanderlei has openly stated that he’d like to coach the Ultimate Fighter. Both guys have good personalities that could make for fireworks. Plus, this fight would not hold up a championship. The obstacle is that Leben appears to be set to take on Brian Stann in January, but a DUI arrest may have thrown a wrench into that fight and into the potential of coaching TUF 13.
B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch
This could be a number one contender bout by the time the fight comes to fruition. Shields will get his shot it seems at the winner of Koscheck vs. GSP. Fitch is left on the outside looking in. This scenario would leave Condit and Lytle out of the mix for a while, but it would be interesting. There are two obstacles here. One, Penn would have to beat Matt Hughes at UFC 123. Second, Fitch’s personality is not dynamic for TV. If you add to that Fitch’s unwillingness to fight Koscheck you have a scenario where you could (not likely) have a meaningless match-up.
Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
I don’t know if the UFc would want to tie up a guy as marketable as Brock Lesnar for this long, but he would be a huge ratings draw. Lesnar has no fight scheduled currently so he is not tied up. With filming expected to begin in January or February Shane Carwin is also possible. He would not be fight ready by then due to impending back/neck surgery, but he could coach while he recovers. This scenario is highly unlikely, but never to be ruled out.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Rashad Evans
I like this potential match for TUF. This appears to be the next light heavyweight title fight regardless. The question is the time frame of Shogun’s recovery from knee surgery. Obviously, the longer the better for Shogun. I think Dana White worries that Shogun is pushing too quickly to return. With Shogun out until late Spring or early Summer he could use the time in between to coach TUF and then defend his belt in July after the show airs.
Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping
Okay, I doubt this one happens, but it would be dynamite. Sonnen is suspended it appears until August of 2011, if he could get that suspension reduced slightly this may be more likely. The trash talk between these guys would be intense. I like this coaching match up and it would create a top contender. In the meantime, other guys would get their hacks at Silva. Sonnen is suspended from fighting, but not coaching TUF.
Urijah Faber vs. Miguel Torres
I had heard rumblings of this before the merger. Faber and Torres have wanted to fight. Fans like this fight. Faber has to get past Mizugaki first in November and I am sure the UFC is looking at that. The plan appeared to be welterweights and middleweights on TUF 13, but they could scrap that and do featherweights or bantamweights. Or you could let 135 lb. fighters coach much bigger guys. I have a feeling that this match will happen, but I think it happens for TUF 14 after both guys get a little more UFC exposure.