From left to right: Gray Maynard, Matt Wiman, Robert Emerson, Nate Diaz, Noah Thomas, Marlon Sims, Cole Miller, Jens Pulver, Gabe Ruediger, Brian Geraghty, BJ Penn, Brandon Melendez, Andy Wang, Manvel Gambaryan, Corey Hill, Wayne Weems, Alan Berubie and Joe Lauzon.
With two former UFC lightweight champions as coaches -- and 16 hungry 155-pound talented mixed martial artists -- the fifth installment of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is buzzing.
UFC President Dana White has mentioned numerous times that this is the best season to date, most recently in the Boston Herald.
Here's a snip from White:
"It's (expletive) awesome. It's the best season ever done. It's only one weight class so there are no friends. Everybody's going after the same contract. These guys are crazy. The reality is much better and the fights are much better too."
And, during a recent exclusive interview with Steve Mazzagati, the referee more or less corroborated the statement.
Here's a snip from Mazz:
"It was awesome, just awesome. Who doesn't love lightweights? These guys are so fast and the fights are so exciting."
It appears that it isn't just shameless promotion -- it might actually be true.
And, the cast pictured above -- the first I've seen of the bunch -- has got some nice names, lending more fuel to the fire.
We'll get our first taste during the season premiere on April 5, which follows UFC Fight Night 9.
Can't wait -- what a great night.
Thanks to Jason at FightStalker.com for sending over the tip.