5 Reasons to Watch The Ultimate Fighter 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn
The Ultimate Fighter season 19 debuts this week with a new cast of middleweights and light heavyweights all vying for a chance to compete in the season finale in July while also kickstarting their own UFC career by appearing on the reality show.
BJ Penn — one of the most legendary fighters to ever grace the Octagon — returns to coach The Ultimate Fighter for the first time since season 5 when he was paired opposite old rival Jens Pulver. This time Penn gets the chance to avenge two losses to former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, who finally gets the opportunity to coach on TUF after several years in the UFC.
The action starts on Wednesday night at 10p ET when The Ultimate Fighter season 19 debuts just moments after the TUF Nations live finale airs with a two-hour special featuring all of the fights between the 32 competitors trying to get into the house.
So if you need a little extra motivation, here are 5 reasons to watch The Ultimate Fighter 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn
BJ Penn plays the TUF game better than most
During his one stint as Ultimate Fighter coach all the way back in season 5, BJ Penn had one of the most memorable turns leading a team in the history of the show.
Penn kicked things off on the first day of filming when he gathered all of the fighters competing on the show, and asked them to raise their hand and just tell the coaches ahead of time who wants to be on his team versus Jens Pulver’s squad. The majority of the fighters ended up raising their hands, which immediately put Pulver on the defensive knowing that most of the competitors really wanted to be on Penn’s team.
In addition to this mind game, Penn was also brutally honest with his fighters during the show including a weight cutting fiasco with Gabe Ruediger as well as literally trying to kick Andy Wang off his team after he failed to listen to his coach’s instructions while becoming a distraction to the rest of the guys in the house. Penn doesn’t understand the concept of pulling punches, and the guys on TUF 19 will probably find that out in rapid order.
At the end of the day, Penn is still a phenomenal coach with more knowledge that most could ever imagine, plus he has an eye for talent. The last time Penn coached the show he selected fighters such as Gray Maynard, Matt Wiman, and Joe Lauzon, who are all still competing in the UFC today.
Mark Coleman gets to play Dana White this season
One of the assistant coaches on Penn’s team this year is UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman, who will be leading the wrestling program for his good friend from Hawaii this year. Coleman is a legend of the Octagon, former heavyweight champion, and the godfather of ground and pound.
But this season, Coleman gets to play another role because when something bad happens in the house during filming, UFC president Dana White decides to put him in charge of getting everybody back in line to ensure the fighters are behaved and ready to compete in the Octagon.
"Coleman is fantastic on this season of The Ultimate Fighter," White told reporters last year while filming was still going on. "Heâs having blast, and heâs been great. Some goofy s–t went down that normally I would handle. You know, the bad kind of s–t where I have to show up at the house? Well I was busy today, so I called Coleman.
"I said, ‘Dude, your f–king picture is hanging on the wall down there at the Hall of Fame. It’s your house. Do whatever the f–k you want to do. He said ‘I got this.’ I can’t wait to see it."
Frankie Edgar finally gets his shot as coach
For several years, Frankie Edgar has been talking about coaching The Ultimate Fighter and now he gets his chance. Funny enough, Edgar actually tried out for a past season of TUF and didn’t make the final cast list. Care to wager which one he tried to make the show?
Yep, you guessed it — season five when BJ Penn was the coach of the team.
Now Edgar will be on even ground with his old rival as he coaches a team of light heavyweights and middleweights as he attempts to make a big impact on The Ultimate Fighter before facing Penn at the end of the season in a featherweight showdown. Edgar brought some real killers along with him to help on his coaching staff including former UFC contender Ricardo Almeida, his boxing coach Mark Henry as well as Muay Thai wrecking machine Edson Barboza and former Olympic judoka Ali Abdel-Aziz.
This is Edgar’s big chance to raise his profile as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, and he’s got a great counterpart to battle all season long.
Maybe the most talented cast from top to bottom?
Every year, The Ultimate Fighter continues to churn out talent that adds depth to the UFC roster, but this season has one of the deepest lists of competitors to ever attempt to make it on the show.
The cast this season includes a ton of young talent including Irish fighter Cathal Pendred, who is a teammate and close friend of outspoken featherweight star Conor McGregor. Pendred started a campaign last year via Twitter to get his shot in the UFC. There’s also Ohio native Dan Spohn, who is a friend and frequent training partner to UFC welterweight competitor Matt Brown. Lyman Good is also on the show after being a champion in his previous stint with another promotion, as well as Dhiego Lima, who trains with several top UFC fighters including former middleweight contender Brian Stann.
Tyler King is a former NFL player turned fighter, and Nordine Taleb should sound like a familiar name after his time as a middleweight on the just finished season of The Ultimate Fighter Nations. All in all, this cast list is insanely stacked with talent and could produce some of the best up and coming fighters the UFC has added in several seasons.
A knockout scarier than the one landed by Uriah Hall
Think back to season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter when Uriah Hall was just another name, and Adam Cell was his opponent in the quarterfinal round of the middleweight tournament on the show. A spinning back kick later and Hall had immortalized himself with one of the sickest, nastiest knockouts in the history of not only The Ultimate Fighter, but the UFC itself. If you need a reminder, feel free to watch the video below:
Well, there’s a knockout in the elimination round of TUF 19 that tops it.
Yep, you read that correctly. There is a knockout on TUF 19 that trumps Hall’s KO over Cella that should force you to drop whatever it is your holding so you can appropriately lift your jaw up from the floor. UFC president Dana White teased the knockout just after it happened, and he can’t wait for the rest of the world to join him in the shock of this finish.
"We had the fights to get into the house yesterday on The Ultimate Fighter, probably the nastiest f–king knockout. It beats Uriah Hall knockout," White said. "Was Uriah Hall not one of the sickest knockouts you’ve ever seen? This one beats it. Picture how f–king scary this knockout is."
Check out the first episode of TUF Talk – the official podcast of The Ultimate Fighter – previewing the new season with coach Frankie Edgar and Corey Anderson, who fights on this Wednesday’s episode