The Ultimate Fighter: Power Ranking the First 15 Seasons of TUF
The Ultimate Fighter is a long-running show that has given many fighters their start with the UFC. It has been a pipeline that has provided many talents and veterans of the sport to the UFC.
It has also been a spark that has put together fights between the coaches. Most of them have been rivalries that have led to great, memorable fights.
Here is a power ranking of the first 15 seasons of the American version of the show.
TUF: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra
The sixth edition of the reality show did not produce much in terms of talent. In fact, some of the antics in the house were more entertaining than most of the fights.
Out of this season, there are only two remaining fighters in the UFC. The first is the winner of the season, Mac Danzig. The other is current TUF: The Smashes' coach George Sotiropolous.
Hearing Matt Serra scream instructions to his fighters definitely didn't help this ranking.
TUF: Team USA vs. Team UK
The first ever country vs. country edition of the long-running reality show was a dud in my opinion.
Not only was the American's team depleted on talent from eight previous seasons of the show, but the fights were lackluster as well. Only DaMarques Johnson and Ross Pearson are still employed with the UFC.
The best part of the season came after the series was over, when Dan Henderson punched Michael Bisping's head to the moon.
TUF: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest
Quinton Jackson's horrid record as a TUF coach started with this season, but you can't blame it on his eye for talent. That's because there was not much talent to work with on this season.
Although there are five men currently in the UFC from this season, most are bottom-feeders in the organization. These fighters include Matt Riddle, CB Dollway, Tim Credeur, Amir Sadollah and Matt Brown.
Rampage's best season as a coach will be seen later in this list.
TUF: Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos
The thirteenth installment of TUF was nothing to write home about, but it was not the worst season seen in the series.
Three men from the series remain in the company in the form of Tony Ferguson, Ramsey Nijem and Justin Edwards. They have had mixed results, but are definitely solid prospects.
The worst part of this series was Len Bentley and his constant complaining.
TUF: Team Cruz vs. Team Faber
The most recent completed series, and only live version of the show, has provided decent prospects, but was not the greatest season.
A lot of the fighters from this series are still in the UFC, but that's because they are only a fight or two into their UFC career. The most promising of the fighters have to be Mike Chiesa, Al Iaquinta, Daron Cruickshank and Myles Jury.
The future will tell us how good the talent pool was here.
TUF: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck
All the lame Josh Koscheck pranks aside, this season of TUF has provided several respectable fighters.
Although most of the guys are now fighting in lower weight classes, such as Cody McKenzie, Jonathan Brookins, Alex Caceres, Pablo Garza and Nam Phan, Michael Johnson remains in the lightweight division for which the show was taped.
This show is one of the better late seasons to feature the often-used lightweight division.
TUF: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz
Although the best part of this season was the interaction between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, this season definitely provided some good fighters.
Still remaining in the UFC are Kyle Noke, Rich Attonito, Court McGee, Brad Tavares, Nick Ring, Costa Philippou, Seth Baczynski and Chris Camozzi. Most of these guys are not "cream of the crop," but they are definitely tough opponents for anybody.
The fights this season were good for the most part as well.
TUF: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir
Although this season was probably more entertaining from a reality show aspect, there were also some good fights and solid talent that came from the eighth installment.
Ryan Bader, Kyle Kingsbury, George Roop, Tom Lawlor, Krzysztof Soszynski, Vinny Magalhaes and Ryan Jimmo are all veterans of this series. They all left everything in the cage, making for solid fights.
Frank Mir's arrogant attitude toward Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was also pretty amusing.
TUF: The Comeback
The fourth installment of the series was a "comeback" season, taking UFC veterans in two weight classes to give it another shot in the company.
It was an intriguing idea and still is, as I would love to see another series like this. Still in the UFC are Patrick Cote and Matt Serra (technically). Some of the guys have retired and went out on top in the UFC, such as Jorge Rivera and Chris Lytle.
There were no coaches, but Matt Serra definitely took it upon himself to be a leader.
TUF: Team Ortiz vs. Team Shamrock
The third installment of TUF featured just as many near brawls between coaches Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz as fights that were in the cage.
From the show, the UFC currently is home to Ed Herman, Matt Hamill and Michael Bisping. Bisping is a top middleweight, Hamill has been a staple in the light heavyweight division and Herman is enjoying a resurgent stint at 185.
Though many guys aren't left in the company, the ones that are still here are top talents.
TUF: Team Evans vs. Team Rampage
Another season where the coaches antics were on display, the tenth season of TUF was interesting to say the least.
The heavyweight division has always been the most shallow, and this season provided some good talents. Roy Nelson, Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione are all solid talents that still grace the heavyweight division.
The fights were good and exciting for the most part, giving this season the high mark it has.
TUF: Team Hughes vs. Team Franklin
The second season of TUF was a good one, as were most of the early seasons of the show.
Many staples of the MMA community appeared on this show. Melvin Guillard and Rashad Evans are the only remaining fighters in the UFC, though many of the fighters grace other top promotions.
The fights were pretty solid and a champion got his start from his season. Not bad, if you ask me.
TUF: Team Miller vs. Team Bisping
The only season to ever have featherweights and bantamweights played host to some of the best fights in the series' history.
The show produced current flyweights John Dodson and Louis Gaudinot. Most of the other cast members are still in the UFC, as they are still building the lighter weight classes.
Unfortunately, the coaches—mainly Jason Miller—couldn't deliver on an exciting fight in their bout.
TUF: Team Penn vs. Team Pulver
Between crazy antics and exciting fights, the fifth season of the show is my personal favorite. The shenanigans started early, as BJ Penn punked out Jens Pulver at the fighter selection.
There was some major talent on this season. Gray Maynard, Joe Lauzon, Matt Wiman, Nate Diaz, Manny Gamburyan and Cole Miller are all still in the UFC. Gamburyan, Diaz and Maynard are all title challengers at some point in their career, with Diaz's opportunity coming in December.
There were fights in the cage and in the house, making this the craziest season of the show.
TUF: Team Liddell vs. Team Couture
The first ever season is the best in the long-running reality show. The in-house antics, as well as most of the fights, were very good.
Further than that, the talent the show produced was top-notch, especially compared to other seasons. Forrest Griffin, Kenny Florian, Stephan Bonnar, Mike Swick, Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez, Nate Quarry and Chris Leben all got their starts in the UFC with this season.
Some say the original is always the best. In this case, that is true.
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