The Ultimate Fighter has been a reality show that has lost some attention after the past couple seasons and lacks storylines tremendously. This past season saw Junior Dos Santos coach against Brock Lesnar. Both are exciting fighters in the octagon, but on national television they lacked the excitement. JDS barely speaks English and Lesnar isn’t the same WWE superstar he once was.
I say they try a comeback season again as they did in 2006 with season 4. In that season former UFC fighters had another shot at fame and the winner of the show even got a title shot if they beat out all the other contestants. Such contestants from season 4 included veterans like Matt Serra, Jorge Rivera, Din Thomas, Scott Smith, Patrick Cote, Travis Lutter, Chris Lytle, and Shonie Carter. All have had pretty good careers since the show. Eventual winner Travis Lutter nearly upset Anderson Silva at UFC 67 and Matt Serra did the seemingly impossible and knocked out Georges St. Pierre to win the welterweight title. Both fights were thrillers and the show was exciting because fans already knew these fighters. I say they switch it up a bit and throw some heavyweights into the mix.
This list is a bunch of fighters who would love to have another shot at stardom and would create huge ratings. The only qualification I used was that the fighters must have fought at least one time in the UFC.
Mike “MAK” Kyle may be one of the craziest fighters to ever step inside a cage, and that is exactly why he needs to be on The Ultimate Fighter.
Kyle fluctuates from light heavyweight to heavyweight depending on who he wants to brawl with, so he makes a great candidate. Kyle’s most prominent victory is over former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion, Feijao Cavalcante.
Kyle hasn’t fought in the UFC since 2005—when he knocked out James Irvin—and is now a Strikeforce fighter. Since the merger seems imminent, I don’t see why he would turn down the opportunity. He will step in and throw with anyone, any size, any day of the week.
“MAK” has been plagued with controversy during his MMA career. Kyle knocked out Wes Sims in his first UFC fight and was later accused of biting Sims in the chest during the scuffle.
He once fought Brian Olsen for the WEC Heavyweight championship and was DQ’d after clearly hitting Olsen with an illegal kick to the face. He then proceeded to beat the hell out of Olsen after the ref tried stopping him. Multiple officials were needed to drag Kyle off of Olsen.
Kyle is a man that doesn’t hold back his emotions and would be a real treat for fans of the show. I don’t know many people who would try and push him into the pool.
Travis Wiuff is another guy who will fight for any organization anytime, anywhere. Wiuff actually fought previously mentioned Mike Kyle a little over a year ago and the fight was ruled a no contest after Kyle hit Wiuff after the bell. Bad blood right from the start my friend.
Wiuff has over 60 wins in his MMA career with 20 (T) KO’s and 23 submissions. The former NJCAA All-American holds victories over Ricco Rodriguez, Jeff Monson, and Keith Jardine. Wiuff only saw one appearance inside the octagon when he lost to current UFC fighter Vladimir Matyushenko all the way back in 2002.
The hardcore MMA fans would love to see Wiuff in the UFC, but every time it seems like he is one step away from returning to the octagon he gets hit with a loss. If Wiuff would enter the house on the Ultimate Fighter he would have a perfect opportunity to taste the big lights once again. It would be interesting how a long time veteran of the sport would fair on a comeback season.
Travis Fulton is a guy that would jump at the chance to fight some big names of the sport. Fulton only holds one UFC fight in his career and that was all the way back in 1999 where he actually won. Travis Fulton, nicknamed the iron man, has over 300 professional MMA fights which includes 246 wins. That’s right you read that correctly 246 professional victories. The guy has only been to the decision 20 times in his entire career and holds nearly 150 submission victories.
Fulton fought an eye-popping 23 times in 2006 and 20 times in 2007. I would bet my life savings that Fulton would go ahead and step in if a fighter got injured on the show. He has been competing since 1996 and will fight any guy that stands across from him. Fulton once fought a 170 lb. wannabe fighter named Jeremy Bullock and KO’d him with the most vicious slam I have ever seen.
Fulton would probably challenge everyone in the house to fight and make sure a ref is there so it counts on his record. Dan Severn makes headlines for going for win #100, well how about someone gives credit to Fulton as he guns for win #250. He use to fight nearly every weekend so the only problem might be is that he gets antsy and punches everyone in sight before he steps inside the cage.
Wesley Correira is known by one name to MMA fans and that is “Cabbage”. The Hawaiian is most known for getting punched in the face an ungodly amount of times and never hitting the canvas. Cabbage holds a 3-2 record in the UFC, but hasn’t seen the 8 sided cage since April of 2004 when he was pummeled by Andrei Arlovski.
Cabbage is 100% fireworks at all times even if he is on the receiving end of a beat down. He has only seen the judge’s score cards on 5 occasions out of his 34 professional fights. The B.J. Penn mentored Correira has fought his fair share of contenders including Tim Sylvia, Arlovski, and Antonio Silva. He hasn’t had a fight in over 3 years so it may be hard to convince him to comeback, but knowing the fighter that he is I’m sure he would be in.
Cabbage is a guy who would probably take a bat to the face just to show he was tougher than everyone in the house and I’d put money on him not going down. Cabbage is a hardnosed dude who would make the former lackluster TUF fights exciting again.
Tank Abbott holds a losing record in his career and is 46 years old. You might think 46 is too old to be on a reality show and you surely think that it is too old to still be fighting, but here is why I think he would be fantastic for the show. Tank fought 3 times at UFC 6 back in 1995 and helped people know what the UFC is. It also helps that he looks like a guy that would pick a fight with an entire bar. I’m not saying he would stand a chance with anyone in the house these days, but he does hold a win over proposed cast mate Cabbage Correira.
Abbott won his last fight over 2 years ago 29 seconds into the first round. Clearly he can still knock people out and I’m sure he still brushes up on his skills at the local county fair when it comes to town. Tank is a born brawler and wouldn’t be afraid of a soul inside that house.
Tank Abbott was a UFC pioneer and helped put the UFC on the map. He is however very seasoned, but his antics in the house would make the show a must see. C’mon who wouldn’t want to see him try and down an entire bottle of Jim Beam the night before his fight?
Gary Goodridge might possibly be the most intimidating man I have ever seen and I’m not afraid to admit that if I saw him walking down the sidewalk I would cross the street immediately. He is however apparently not that intimidating in the ring as he has lost his last 7 fights. Goodridge however has lost to some tough fighters in that span including Gegard Mousasi, Pedro Rizzo, and current Strikeforce Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
Goodridge had one of the craziest knockouts in UFC history in his first career fight when he slammed Paul Herrera with some of the most vicious elbows ever known to man. That highlight is still seen today and made Goodridge one of the scariest fighters to ever step inside the octagon. Goodridge fought at UFC 8, 9, 10, and 19. He also fought in the first ever PRIDE event. Fans would recognize “Big Daddy” and some would have to sleep with their lights on out of pure fright.
He fought a little over a year ago and would most likely gain immediate respect within the house. The Canadian born Goodridge is however getting up there in age as he is 45 years old and is somewhat known for gassing out extremely early, but to have one of the UFC’s first great knockout artists back on TV would be a must watch.
You might ask yourself who the hell is Brad Imes? Well if you didn’t watch season 2 of the Ultimate Fighter I can see why you would ask. Imes somehow made it to the finals and took Rashad Evans to a split decision way back in 2005. Imes only fought in the UFC on three occasions going 0-3 with his last loss coming to Heath Herring.
Imes holds no great wins in his career, but the fact that he is a veteran of TUF gets him the nod for a comeback. Imes’ career could have been so much different if he just did a little bit more and upset the much smaller Evans on the finale, but instead he fought on local shows for most of his career.
The 6’7, 260 lbs. Imes could really test the smaller heavyweights and would give the show a submission expert. There are not many heavyweights who have won two consecutive fights by gogoplata in their career. Imes’ experience in dealing with the house would possibly make him a dark horse, but his ring experience would make him an easy knockout victim.
Andrei Arlovski would be a poster boy for a proposed TUF: Heavyweight comebacks. Andrei Arlovski was once on top of the heavyweight world until he met Tim Sylvia in their 2nd and 3rd fights. Arlovski however bounced back quite well and won 5 fights in a row before getting steam rolled by Fedor Emelianenko and it has been all downhill since then.
Arlovski stepped into the cage with little-known heavyweight Brett Rogers in June of 2009 and got his brains scrambled in under 25 seconds and really hasn’t been the same since. He is currently riding a 4 fight losing streak and is in dire need of a career resurgence. The Ultimate Fighter has been a land of opportunities and even gave Kimbo Slice a chance at redemption.
The Pit bull was once the face of the heavyweight division and now is seen as a big name that is a stepping stone for fighters that want to get their names out there. Arlovski could have one last chance to put in the fanged mouth piece and make people remember how dominate he once was.
Tim Sylvia was once a former UFC Heavyweight champion, so this would be a great opportunity for him to get back into the UFC. Sylvia was actually rumored to get another chance if he kept winning on the local circuits, but Abe Wagner derailed those plans back in January. Sylvia was a force to be reckoned with from 2002 to 2006, but since leaving the UFC he has seen mixed results.
Sylvia took his first post-UFC fight against former #1 P4P Fedor Emelianenko and that was not pretty to watch. Sylvia capped off his losing streak with a 9 second KO loss to boxer Ray Mercer. Sylvia is looking for any way possible to get back into the octagon as he seemingly can’t win his way back.
Sylvia would have to avoid pulling a Jason Guida and missing weight, but if he was motivated enough it shouldn’t be a problem. What a comeback story that would be if Sylvia could come back and have a shot at winning gold again. He really needs to get his head in the right place to do this however. Sylvia would have one more chance at beating Stephen King out for being the top dog from Maine (which isn’t that great but it’s good enough).
Last but not least, Gilbert Yvel could complete the cast of TUF: Heavyweight Comebacks. Yvel is another heavyweight who may be one of the craziest men to ever step inside a cage. Yvel’s last fight was actually in the UFC when he was knocked out by Jon Madsen. Yvel holds an 0-3 record in the UFC as he has lost a lot of his thunder from his PRIDE days.
Yvel does however hold an impressive record of 36-16-1 with an outstanding 31 (T) KO’s. Yvel has one of the most impressive head kick KO’s of all-time when he nearly knocked Gary Goodridge’s head off his shoulders. Yvel also isn’t a huge fan of MMA refs as he once punched a ref back in 2004. If he brought that craziness into the house then everybody had better watch their back at all times.
Yvel is a loose cannon to say the least and would create great TV. Yvel needs an opponent who will stand and trade with him and the others listed in the house create very interesting fights with him. Gilbert Yvel was once a highly sought after fighter who got fans out of their seats and if he could produce that magic again then he would be a favorite.
The Ultimate Fighter needs a change and I think a comeback season with Heavyweights would be the change that would excite fans again. No title shot would be given at the end of the show, but simply a spot back in the UFC.
The bad blood in the house would make great ratings and the pure chaos would put fans on the edge of their seats. All of these fighters are pretty seasoned and most are way past their primes, but let’s not forget this is America which is the home of second chances. Give one of these lucky guys a second chance to fight on the grandest stage of them all. Wouldn’t you rather see Mike Kyle brawling Tank Abbott than seeing Court McGee wrestle his way to a contract.