UFC President Dana White confirmed in a press conference on Tuesday that UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and No. 1 contender Fabricio Werdum will coach the promotion's upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Dubbed The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, the show will showcase 16 Latin American UFC hopefuls, crowning a champion in Mexico City on November 15 at UFC 180.
Even better, UFC 180 in November will also feature the coaches' showdown, as Velasquez will put his heavyweight strap on the line against the ever-evolving and improving Werdum.
For the UFC, this is a nearly perfect scenario, and its trek into the Latin American market is primed for success with the announcement.
Velasquez is the son of a Mexican immigrant, Efrain, and the heavyweight champion draws inspiration from his father's story. He went so far as to tattoo "Brown Pride" across his chest to honor his heritage.
Werdum, on the other hand, was born in Brazil but moved to Spain as a teen. He has worked for the UFC's Spanish broadcast team, as he speaks the language fluently.
Add in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, and November's event looks to be a can't-miss event for the UFC's new market and for fight fans across the globe.
The lone worry with this endeavor is Velasquez's health.
The UFC heavyweight champion has not fought since October 2013 due to shoulder surgery and rehab, and his injury history has already cost the UFC a bout with Werdum at UFC 172 in Mexico in the past.
When Velasquez was unable to compete at that event, the UFC scrapped its plans to enter Mexico altogether, but now it appears ready to give it another go and hope that everything goes according to plan this time around.
If everything goes off without a hitch, UFC 180 could represent a major turning point for the organization as it continues its international expansion and taps into a market of fervent, enthusiastic Latin American fans.
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