The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) is set to return this summer with Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler as head coaches. While most people are still wowing over the coach selection, Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace, Gordon Ryan, wants to know if one of the teams needs an assistant mat technician.
Ryan is currently recognized as perhaps the best no-gi jiu-jitsu practitioner in the world, and he’s getting paid like it, too. “King” recently signed a seven-figure deal with FloSports, which is good money in any combat sport and almost unheard of in grappling. That contract kicks off on Feb. 25, 2023, when he faces off against Felipe Pena (again).
Pena and Ryan have some serious heat coming into that match, but Gordon Ryan tends to generate heat without much effort. Now, he’s offering to bring some of that with him to the set of TUF 31 on ESPN.
“Wonder if someone needs a jiu jitsu coach,” he wrote on Instagram alongside a poster of the upcoming Team McGregor vs. Team Chandler season of TUF 31.
Now the question is whether Ryan is offering his services to McGregor or Chandler. We’re thinking Chandler is the more realistic option as Ryan has a long-standing feud going against McGregor’s former jiu-jitsu coach, Dillon Danis.
McGregor linked up with Danis back in 2016 after getting submitted by Nate Diaz in their first fight. While Danis has been in a full leg brace and unable to train for the past few years, “The Notorious” still considers him part of the team.
“I’m still rockin’ with Dillon — all the way!” McGregor wrote back in Dec. 2022 before adding, “he should be back doing MMA,” rather than a boxing match with KSI. That bout would end up falling apart one month later (details here).
Meanwhile, Chandler trains at Kill Cliff FC — formerly known as Sandford MMA — in South Florida. Most guys bring their own trainers along with them when they do TUF, and that’s what we expect Chandler and McGregor to do as well. But, that wouldn’t stop “Iron” Mike from potentially inviting Ryan as a special guest, especially if McGregor brings Danis along.
Now that would be an episode we wouldn’t want to miss!
The date and location for the 170-pound Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler showdown is unknown at this time. Nevertheless, TUF 31 will debut on May 30, 2023, and run until Aug. 15, 2023.