UFC on FX 6: Ross Pearson and 5 Other Guys Who Went from Winner to Coach
Winning The Ultimate Fighter is never easy. Even when a guy doesn't win it, he's never the same. Success takes a true mix of grit, skill, determination and perhaps even a little luck.
Coaching is also a key element in the success of many fighters who appear on the show. Bad coaching can end a guy's run before it starts, while good coaches can make a man more than he ever thought he could be in the cage.
TUF: The Smashes coach Ross Pearson is one of six men who won the show and went on to become a coach himself. Here's a look at guys who have made the jump.
Serra authored the biggest upset in UFC history when he beat Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69. However, to get the chance, he had to win TUF 4. That year, the winner of the show got a guaranteed title shot, and it was Serra who earned it on the way to becoming the most improbable champion in MMA history.
He would return to TUF a couple of seasons later to coach against Matt Hughes, a man who had grown into his ultimate nemesis. The two bickered on the way to a fight at UFC 98, which Serra lost by decision.
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Griffin wasn't the first man to win TUF, but he was the first man to win it in incredible fashion.
His fight with Stephan Bonnar took place after Diego Sanchez became the middleweight winner of the first season, but it still secured him a UFC deal and went down as the greatest fight the sport had ever seen.
He returned to coach TUF 7 with Rampage Jackson prior to their title fight at UFC 86, and while Jackson spent the time goofing off, Griffin used it to guide Amir Sadollah to a win and pave his own way to UFC gold as well.
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Bisping won TUF as a light heavyweight and dropped to 185, where he's been a perennial contender. Many believe he's next up for Anderson Silva, should he get by Vitor Belfort in Brazil come January.
Bisping is also a two-time coach of the show, and has produced winners in three of the four divisions he's coached. As the head of Team UK in the ninth season, he coached Pearson and was regarded as a standout coach, while his work received some criticism in season 14.
He's done it all in the TUF universe.
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Another winner who took a coaching gig opposite Rampage Jackson (who, again, did little to improve his image), TUF 2 alum and TUF 10 coach Evans took Jackson to the woodshed as a coach and a competitor on the way to a win at UFC 114.
Evans showed to be a better coach, of quicker wit and a sharper warrior on fight night, and has stayed near the top of the 205-pound division ever since.
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Nelson was the benefactor of the quality coaching of Evans during season 10 of TUF, knocking out Brendan Schaub in the final.
After two years of chirping, he was paired with rival Shane Carwin and returned to the program as a coach.
The two mostly avoided one another during the season, despite a seething hatred, and actually won't even fight due to a Carwin injury. Nevertheless, in the face of some bizarre methods, Nelson put Colton Smith in the final. The world will find out on Saturday if he'll be a TUF champion.
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TUF: The Smashes coach Pearson goes to war at UFC on FX 6 against opposing coach George Sotiropoulos with a chance to become the fourth competitor-turned-coach to win his season-ending fight.
The affable Pearson was a popular fighter under Michael Bisping on the original Team UK, and put Brad Scott, Norman Parke and Colin Fletcher into finale fights on FX. After competing at both featherweight and lightweight, the two-division threat has a host of options open to him going forward, and remains a young and dynamic presence in the Octagon.