The upcoming 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter is historic because it will not only be the first all-female cast in the show's history, but it will also crown the first ever women's strawweight champion. As of right now, the show has 11 ladies whose contracts were purchased from Invicta to compete on the show (the other five contestants will be chosen from a tryout).
So far, the cast includes Invicta champ Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Joanna Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Felice Herrig, Bec Hyatt, Rose Namajunas, Emily Kagan, Paige VanZant, Alex Chambers and Juliana Lima.
One of the questions that has been posed since the announcement of this cast is who the coaches would be. Would it be two female fighters or would they use male fighters?
Despite everything, it would be best for the UFC to incorporate male coaches for this season, especially a pair of coaches that have a background or rivalry.
Sure, TUF 20 could employ female coaches, but the options aren't really aplenty.
Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate both coached season 18 and are still set to have their coaches battle at the end of this month at UFC 168. That, of course, was an obvious choice for coaching the first-ever season that included women, but they will not likely coach again.
That leaves the UFC with the rest of the bantamweight division as choices to coach.
Cat Zingano was supposed to coach and then fight Rousey, but a knee injury bumped her from that spot and gave Tate the opportunity. She is likely to get her earned title shot after the Tate-Rousey fight goes down, so throwing her on the show as a coach wouldn't make sense because she already has a title ticket punched.
That leaves the rest of the division, which includes Sara McMann, Alexis Davis, Jessica Eye and Amanda Nunes, to name a few.
First off, I think we have to remove anybody from the running that doesn't speak English, as that is a requirement for performing on the show. Nunes isn't exactly fluent, nor is Jessica Andrade or Bethe Correia.
When you go further than that, none of the women in the division who could be potential opponents have an intriguing storyline with another woman. Plus, you have to find somebody who is marketable to warrant views.
Liz Carmouche has pushed hard on Twitter to get that coaching spot, but with all due respect, her record in the UFC doesn't suggest she should land the spot. Sure she had a title shot, but she is 1-2 with the company and coming off a one-sided loss to Alexis Davis.
Davis could be a viable contender to coach, as she could be right behind Zingano in the line for a title shot. However, finding her a dance partner to coach against would be tough, especially because the most interesting coaching seasons come between rivals that dislike each other.
Sara McMann could be a decent coach, but we haven't heard from her since she pulled out of her fight back in the summer against Sarah Kaufman.
What it comes down to is that the UFC needs these strawweights to get the best attention possible, so they can develop into marketable, seasoned fighters that make the division more legit than it is now. It worked with Rousey and Tate, but outside that, it may be tough.
That's why the UFC may have to go with male coaches for this season.
There are well over 200 male fighters on the roster, many of whom have an opponent who could not only create a great rivalry, but could make for a close, interesting fight when it's all said and done.
What about Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson coaching a season that ends in a title rematch between the two? That would be a great competitive rivalry.
Then there's the idea of having Rich Franklin coach opposite another top fighter, which could be the ultimate sendoff for the legend who will probably retire next year. Franklin has a lot to offer having coached the show before.
Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy would be great to have, as their rivalry continues to heat up through the media. It would be a tense season that resulted in an important middleweight bout.
The possibilities are endless. Basically, even though it's an all-women's season doesn't mean the coaches need to be female fighters.
Whatever happens, I'm sure the season will be filled with high drama and great action. That's why there is such a buzz about the keynote 20th season.