Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) today released (via FOX Sports) the full co-ed cast for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 on FOX Sports 1, coached by women's bantamweight rivals Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.
Following their coaching duties, Tate and Rousey will hook 'em up in a championship rematch (see what happened the first time here) in the co-main event of the UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2" pay-per-view (PPV), which takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 28, 2013 (details here).
But let's not put the cart before the horse, as we first have 32 reality show contestants ready to rumble on Sept. 4 to earn a spot in the TUF house, as well as the coveted "six-figure contract."
Women's Bantamweight Fighters
Shayna Baszler (15-8), 33, Sioux Fall, S.D.
Revelina Berto (3-1), 24, Winter Haven, Fla.
Jessamyn Duke (2-1), 27, Richmond, Ky.
Tonya Evinger (11-6), 32, Lake St. Louis, Mo.
Laura Howarth (4-0), 26, Hove, East Essex, ENG
Tara LaRosa (21-3), 35, Albuquerque, N.M.
Valerie Letourneau (4-3), 30, La Prairie, CAN
Bethany Marshall (4-1), 25, Newport News, Va.
Sarah Moras (3-1), 25, Kelowna, CAN
Margaret Morgan (2-0), 33, Nashua, N.H.
Gina Mazany (3-0), 25, Seattle, Wash.
Roxanne Modafferi (15-10), 30, Pittsfield, Mass.
Julianna Pena (4-2), 24, Spokane, Wash.
Raquel Pennington (3-3), 24, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jessica Rakoczy (1-3), 36, Las Vegas, Nev.
Colleen Schneider (4-3), 31, Las Vegas, Nev.
Male Bantamweight Fighters
Christopher Beal (7-0), 28, Somis, Calif.
Cody Bollinger (14-3), 22, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Louis Fisette (6-1), 23, Winnipeg, CAN
Rafael Freitas (6-0-1), 29, Albuquerque, N.M.
David Grant (8-1), 27, Bishop Auckland, ENG
Tim Gorman (9-2), 30, West Des Moines, Iowa
Anthony Gutierrez (4-0), 22, Lee's Summit, Mo.
Emil Hartsner (4-0), 23, Luberod, SWE
Joshua Hill (9-0), 26, Binbrook, CAN
Chris Holdsworth (4-0), 25, Woodland Hills, Calif.
Patrick Holohan (9-0-1), 25, Dublin, IRL
Sirwan Kakai (9-1), 23, Coconut Creek, Fla.
Danny Martinez (18-4), 28, San Diego, Calif.
Matthew Munsey (4-1), 26, Hollywood, Fla.
Lee Sandmeier (9-0), 30, Knoxville, Iowa
Michael Wootten (6-0), 24, Liverpool, ENG
On the men's side, Danny Martinez has the most experience of the bunch and the majority of his losses have come to big names such as Jussier da Silva, Joseph Benavidez and Mark Hominick. Also of note, "The Gremlin" normally fights at 125 pounds.
Chris Beal has five wins in a row under England's BAMMA promotion.
Rafael Freitas comes out of the Gracie Barra New Mexico fight camp and performs like a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) ace with five of his six wins coming via submission. His recorded draw (not a loss) comes at the hands of former UFC and WEC mainstay Antonio Banuelos.
Sirwan Kakai fights out of American Top Team (ATT) and has looked to be a solid all-around threat.
Quite frankly, none of the men have anywhere close to the pedigree that some of the women on this show can claim. Tara LaRosa is easily the most decorated of the bunch, with high-profile wins against other competitors Shayna Baszler and Roxanne Modafferi.
Baszler and Modafferi join Tonya Evinger as the established veterans on the program, while some young up-and-comers like Jessamyn Duke, Raquel Pennington and Bethany Marshall have solid experience under the Invicta FC banner.
All in all, this has the potential to be a very competitive season.
TUF 18 will premiere on Sept. 4, 2013 and will determine the eight men and eight women (via elimination) who will be divided into separate teams coached by UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and her longtime rival Miesha Tate.
Here's a taste:
First impressions of the TUF 18 cast?