UFC 274 Preview

Photo Courtesy of Zuffa LLC

UFC 274 is right around the corner, and the main card is must watch TV. The first fight of the night features MMA veteran and all around badass Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone facing off against another badass UFC veteran Joe Lauzon. The next fight of note is between former interim Champ Tony Ferguson and former Bellator Champ Michael Chandler. Both Ferguson and Chandler are both in need of a win.  The Card is then headlined by two title fights the first title fight is between Strawweights former champ Carla Esparza will face current champ Rose Namajunas. The final fight of the night will be between Justin Gaethje and Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira.

Donald Cowboy Cerrone has made a career out of taking short notice fights and fighting all comers. Some think that this will be Cerrone’s last fight in the UFC cage. Cerrone has had a couple of rough outings over the last three years most notably a Knockout loss to Conor McGregor. Joe Lauzon is on the back nine of his career; he got back in the win column in his last outing when he faced off against Jonathan Pearce winning by TKO. This was after a very rough patch in his career when he dropped three in a row to Stevie Ray, Clay Guida, and Chris Gruetzemacher. It will be Lauzon’s first bout in the UFC since before the Pandemic in 2019.

The next bout we’re really excited for is a matchup between Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson. Chandler put on one of the best fights last year when he squared up against Justin Gaethje in the UFC Octagon. The pair traded shots for a long time with Gaethje coming up the victor in the end. Chandler is now set to face Tony Ferguson with the pair being on losing streaks both are hoping to get back to their winning ways. Ferguson in his last three outings has faced top tier competition but was unable to secure victories against Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, and Beneil Dariush. It should be interesting to see who comes out of this matchup with a win.

The final two bouts on this card are title fights. The first being a rematch between Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas. The pair faced off during The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Finale for the inaugural UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship. Esparza walked away with the belt in their first meeting and will hope to reclaim the title from Namajunas. Namajunas is on her second stint as UFC Champion and hopes to make her second title defense this go around when she faces off against Esparza.

The final bout of UFC 274 is for The Lightweight title and will feature Justin Gaethje facing off with Submission Specialist Charles Oliveira. Gaethje is no stranger to big fights as he is the Former World Series of Fighting Lightweight Champion and is also a former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion he hopes to take Oliveiras belt. Oliveira will do everything in his power to stop this. The Brazilian grappler has been on an awesome ten fight winning streak two of those wins were title fights where he beat  Michael Chandler vacant UFC Lightweight Championship. Broke the UFC record for most finishes (17). And a great title defense against one of the best Lightweights in the world Dustin Poirier. This matchup between Gaethje and Oliveira is going to be must-see TV and we are excited to watch how this goes down.

You can catch UFC 274 on ESPN+ PPV on May 7th.

Update: Charles Oliveira missed weight and has been stripped of his UFC Lightweight title and will not be eligible to win the Lightweight title if he is victorious at UFC 274

Fighter Profile: Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Joanna Jędrzejczyk is without a doubt one of the scariest female fighters to have ever reigned over a UFC Women’s division. The self pronounced Boogie woman reigned supreme over the Strawweight division for four years beating an impressive list of names in multiple title defenses.  Jędrzejczyk is set to come back to the UFC Octagon for the first time since she fought Zhang Weili before the Pandemic and sustained one of the most gruesome head injuries mma fans have ever seen.

Jędrzejczyk was born August 18, 1987 in Olsztyn, Poland. She started her journey into martial arts when she was 16 after discovering  Muay Thai. She’d start taking Muay Thai classes with hopes to compete in the art. She’d do just that winning about 60 Muay Thai and Kickboxing matches over a ten year span. During this span Jędrzejczyk would win an impressive five world titles including the WKN World Championship, J Girls Championship, WBKF Championship, WKF European Championship, and the WMC Championship. She’d soon switch her focus to Mixed Martial Arts.

Jędrzejczyk would make her MMA debut against Sylwia Juśkiewicz in May of 2012 she’d win by Unanimous Decision. She’d then go face Lily Kazak in December of 2012 winning by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) Jędrzejczyk would then face Kate Jackson winning by TKO (doctor stoppage.) She’d face three more fighters in smaller promotions, she’d beat all of these fighters and would get the call to fight for the UFC.

 Jędrzejczyk would make her UFC debut against Juliana Lima winning by Unanimous Decision. From there she’d face Cláudia Gadelha winning in a controversial Split Decision. This would be a title eliminator and in her next bout she’d fight Carla Esparza for the UFC Women’s Strawweight title winning by TKO (Punches.) She’d make her first two successful title defenses against Jessica Penne and Valérie Létourneau. 

 Jędrzejczyk  would then go on to Coach The Ultimate Fighter against heated rival Cláudia Gadelha the two would face each other at the conclusion of the Season with Jędrzejczyk winning the second meeting. She defended the  belt successfully two more times against Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jéssica Andrade before losing the belt to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217. Jędrzejczyk would then face Namajunas again. She’d then face Tecia Torres winning by Unanimous Decision. She’d then move up to fight for the vacant Flyweight Title losing by Unanimous decision. She’d win her next fight against Michelle Waterson before losing a Split Decision to Zhang Weili at UFC 248 for the Strawweight title.

We hope Jędrzejczyk makes a successful return to the UFC Octagon sometime soon!

Fighter Profile: Jessica Andrade

Jessica Andrade celebrates after her victory at UFC 266.
Andrade after victory Photo courtesy of Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Jéssica Andrade is one of the best female fighters in the UFC and is currently ranked first in the UFC Flyweight division right under Current Champion Valentina Schevchenko and sixth in the overall pound for pound rankings. The Former Strawweight champion has a 22-9 record and if you look at her nine losses you will quickly realize that she lost to all of the most dangerous women in the world who were at the top of their game.

 Andrade was born in Umuarama, Paraná, Brazil on September 25, 1991 she is the daughter of parents who were farmers and she would work on her family’s farm until it was municipalized and thus her child labor was not allowed anymore. Growing up she played soccer and she even got offers to play for a São Paulo Soccer club, but her parents would not let her move, at this time Andrade decided to train Judo and eventually would also take up Jiu Jitsu. She’d eventually earn a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Gilliard Paraná.

Andrade would soon turn her focus to MMA. She’d make her professional MMA debut against Weidy Borges on September 6, 2011 Andrade would win by TKO (Punches.) She’d then face Bruna Fernandes winning by TKO (Punches.) She then get the first loss of her career when she faced Kinberly Novaes in May of 2012. She’d get back to her winning ways two weeks later when she faced Lilian Correia winning by TKO (Body Punch.)  She’d win her next five fights before dropping a fight to Jennifer Maia in Samurai FC. She’d win her next two fights both by Submission before going to the UFC.

Andrade would make her UFC debut in July of 2013 when she faced off against Liz Carmouche. Andrade would unfortunately lose the bout by TKO. She’d win her next the fights against Rosi Sexton, Raquel Pennington, and Larissa Pacheco. She’d then lose two of her next three including a rematch with Raquel Pennington. She’d then move down to Strawweight where she’d face Jessica Penne in her Strawweight debut Winning by TKO (Punches.) She’d win her next two fights against Joanne Calderwood and Angela Hill before she faced off against Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 211 for the Strawweight Belt.

Andrade was not deterred and would win her next bout against Cláudia Gadelha. She’d then face Tecia Torres winning by unanimous decision. Karolina Kowalkiewicz would be up next for Andrade she knocked her out in round one. She’d then face Rose Namajunas at UFC 237 the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship. Andrade would win by KO (Slam) and thus winning the title. She’d then lose her belt her next fight when she faced Zhang Weili. She’d then face Namajunas again ultimately losing a Split Decision. She’d get back in the win column against Katlyn Chookagian when she went up a weight class winning by TKO (Body Punches) she’d then get a shot at the Flyweight title against Valentina Schevchenko. Schevchenko would win by TKO (Elbows.) She’d win her next fight against Cynthia Calvillo by TKO (Punches) at UFC 266.

Andrade is set to face Amanda Lemos in April and will hopefully get two in a row.

Fighter Profile: Carla Esparza

UFC Fight Night: Xiaonan v Esparza
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Former Invicta and UFC Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza has been out of the UFC Octagon since she beat Yan Xiaonan in May of 2021. Esparza is supposedly next in line for a shot at Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas. Who she won the Inaugural UFC Strawweight belt against all the way back in 2014. Fans definitely want to see this matchup again, even if Dana White doesn’t. Esparza has a five fight win streak and it’d be great to see her face Namajunas.

Esparza was born October 10, 1987 in Torrance, CA. She would attend Redondo Union High School wrestling for the varsity team during her junior year. She would win a few tournaments and would have the option to go to college for wrestling which she did. Esparza would attend Menlo College, a NAIA Division 1 School. She’d become an All American in Wrestling under the tutelage of coach and former two-time Olympian Lee Allen. Esparza in addition to wrestling while in college would also take up Brazillian Jiu Jitsu under Rener, Ryron, and Ralek Gracie at the Gracie Academy in Torrance. She is currently a Brown Belt. 

Cassie Trost was Esparza’s first MMA opponent in February of 2010. Esparza would win by TKO (Punches) in round one. Esparza would then face Karina Hallinan winning by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke.) She’d then face Lacey Sears she’d win by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in round two. She’d then get the first loss of her career when she stepped into the cage against Megumi Fujii for Bellator. She’d then get two wins in a row against Nina Nunes (née Ansaroff) and Yadira Anzaldua. She’d then drop a fight to Jessica Aguilar. She’d win her next three fights before competing for the Invicta Strawweight belt against Bec Rawlings she’d win by Unanimous Decision.

Esparza would then get the call to be on the Ultimate Fighter 20 Women’s Strawweight tournament.Esparza would face Angela Hill, Tecia Torres, and Jessica Penne on the Ultimate fighter Earning her a spot in the show’s live finale. She’d face Rose Namajunas winning by Submission (rear-naked choke) and thus winning the show and the first UFC Strawweight belt. She’d lose the belt in her next fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Esparza would win three of her next four before dropping two in a row to Claudia Gadelha and Tatiana Suarez. She’s currently riding a five fight win streak including victories over Michelle Waterson, Marina Rodriguez, and Yan Xiaonan.

We hope to see Esparza fight soon, and we hope it’s for the belt.

What’s Next For ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas?

Photo Courtesy of Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas made her return to the UFC octagon where she successfully defended her title against Weili Zhang. This was a great fight where Namajunas showed her abilities both on the feet and on the ground. Putting on a clinic for her first title defense this go around. But this brought many to question what is next for Namajunas? She has beaten most of the big names in her division and has faced and beaten all of the divisions’ former champions besides Carla Esparza.

Namajunas made her way to the UFC in 2014 when she fought for a title on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter. She was ranked 7th on the show and would earn her spot to the final fight of the season where she faced Carla Esparza. Namajunas has gone on to have an excellent career in the UFC where she’s had two stints as champion.

Namajunas really has two options I think most fans would love to see. The first one I think that makes sense is another rematch with former Strawweight Champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Rose has beaten Jędrzejczyk twice already but Jędrzejczyk is one of the best Strawweights of all time. I think it’d be great to see a third fight.  Jędrzejczyk has been removed from the rankings at the current moment, but said she was waiting to face the winner of the Strawweight Championship at UFC 268. Namajunas won so I think they could definitely make this fight.

The other option for Namajunas in my opinion would be a rematch against Carla Esparza. Esparza is coming off a victory to Yan Xiaonan at UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt in May of 2021. Esparza is on a five fight win streak and is often talked about as one of the best Strawweights of all time. Esparza Won the inaugural UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship and also Won The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 in 2014.   Esparza lost the title to Jędrzejczyk in her next fight. This would be a great match between a current champion and a former champion. I think the fans would love to see it too. 

Dana White and the UFC matchmakers do a great job making fights. I think Namajunas with the excellent coaching of Trevor Wittman will definitely have a way longer reign than her first time as champion. She’s a truly inspirational fighter who believes they are the best then puts on dominant performances that prove she’s the best.  We will have to wait and see what is next!

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FIGHTER PROFILE: Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman says crossover mega-fight with Canelo "only makes sense" and  would be combat sports' 'biggest event ever' | DAZN News UK
Usman embraces victory. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Kamaru Usman will face Colby Covington at UFC 268 in a rematch of their 2019 fight which was Usman’s first title defense. Usman will again be defending the 170 pound title at UFC 268 the world will be watching as these two great wrestlers face off in the UFC Octagon at Madison Square Garden. But what makes the welterweight champion and #1 pound for pound ranked fighter is his story and how he got to the UFC. 

Usman was born May 11, 1987 in Auchi, Nigeria to his parents who were both of Nigerian descent. His father was in the Nigerian army and his mother was a teacher. Usman’s father would eventually become a Pharmacist and would move his family to the US when Usman was eight years old. This would get Usman an American education.


During his sophomore year Usman would begin wrestling at Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas. It would be a start of something special for young Usman who ended up with a 53–3 record and would place third at the Texas State Wrestling Championships. Usman who is the same age as Jon Jones would wrestle besides the future Light Heavyweight champion at the Senior National Tournament.

 Usman would go on to wrestle in college at William Penn University. Usman would later transfer to the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Usman would place top 3 in wrestling in the country in all his years at UNK. Usman would become a NCAA Division II national champion at 174 pounds in 2010 in Omaha. After College Usman decided to pursue Olympic Wrestling but decided not to take part after injuries derailed his dreams.

This led Usman to pursue MMA. In 2011 Usman made his first step into the MMA world when he served as the wrestling coach for Team Miller during The Ultimate Fighter season fourteen. Usman made his professional MMA debut in November of 2012 fighting for the RFA promotion he won by TKO (punches.) Usman would lose his next fight, and would fight for more times in smaller promotions and would then make his way to the UFC. He’d end up in the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter. Usman would win the show and it would be his first win in the promotion.

After The Ultimate Fighter, Usman went on a serious run, dominating the Welterweight Division. Beating fighters like Leon Edwards, Demian Maia, and Rafael dos Anjos. This would earn Usman a title shot, where he would face defending Welterweight Champion, Tyron Woodley. Usman would win by Unanimous decision. Since then Usman has defended the Welterweight Championship 4 times once against Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns and twice against Jorge Masvidal. Usman will be facing Colby Covington in a rematch at Madison Square Garden as the main event of UFC 268.

What makes Usman’s story all the more amazing is that when Usman was doing all of these amazing things in the cage, he had turmoil at home. His father was in Jail for most of his run due to a health care fraud and money laundering scheme. Usman’s father is now out of jail and has seen his son fight. Usman recently bought his parents a nice home for them to retire in.

We shall see if Usman retains his title after UFC 268 it is sure to be a great fight, and it should be interesting because Usman and Covington don’t really like each other which adds so much drama to the fight. We shall see!

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FIGHTER PROFILE: ‘THUG’ ROSE NAMAJUNAS

Paige Vanzant vs Rose Namajunas: 'Thug' delivers comprehensive UFC Fight  Night 80 victory to halt VanZant | The Independent | The Independent
Rose Namajunas put a beatdown on former UFC Strawweight Paige VanZant (PA)

Rose Namajunas will make her return to the UFC Octagon on Saturday November 6th in Madison Square Garden in an immediate rematch to her last opponent, former Strawweight Champion, Zhang Weili. This fight is sure to be an insane matchup as Namajunas is a skilled fighter in the cage, but also because Namajunas and Weili have exchanged verbal barbs in the past. But Namajunas has the ability to back up what she says in the Octagon being a two time Strawweight Champion herself. 

Namajunas was born on June 29, 1992  in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Namajunas is of Lithuanian origin and both her parents moved to the United States the year before Namajunas was born. Namajunas had a tough upbringing in one of Milwaukee’s worst neighborhoods where she regularly witnessed violence. Namajunas got her start in Martial Arts at a young age starting with taekwondo. Namajunas would go on to study Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Karate, and MMA.  Namajunas got her nickname “Thug Rose” during her teenage years as Namajunas was their only white friend and was the toughest among them.  Namajunas would graduate from Milwaukee High School of the Arts where she ran cross country and wrestled.


After High School Namajunas started competing in MMA. She would start out with a 4-0 record which led her to Invicta FC. She’d make her professional and promotional debut at Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt in January of 2013 against future UFC Strawweight Emily Kagan. Namajunas secured the victory via Submission (rear-naked choke.) She’d fight twice again for the promotion including a loss to future Strawweight Tecia Torres.

In 2013 it was announced that The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 would crown the Champion of their new Strawweight division. Namajunas went into the Ultimate fighter house ranked 7th. She’d faced Alex Chambers on the show first she’d win by Submission (rear-naked choke.) She’d then face Joanne Calderwood in the quarterfinal round she’d win by Submission (kimura.) In the semifinal she’d face Randa Markos she’d win again by Submission (kimura.) This brought Namajunas to the finals of the show where she faced Carla Esparza for the Strawweight belt. Unfortunately for Namajunas Esparza would win by Submission (rear-naked choke) although she had lost she’d get back to fighting.

Namajunas would get her first fight off the show in 2015 where she faced Angela Hill at UFC 192 she’d win by Submission (rear-naked choke.) She’d then secure wins against Paige VanZant and Tecia Torres. She’d then lose a decision to Karolina Kowalkiewicz by Split Decision. In her next fight she’d win against Michelle Waterson she’d win by Submission (rear-naked choke.)

In 2017 Namajunas would get her shot at the title again. She’d face Joanna Jędrzejczyk for the Strawweight title. It was quite the fight with Namajunas winning by TKO. Namajunas would then face Jędrzejczyk again Namajunas would successfully defend her title. In her next fight Namajunas faced Jéssica Andrade; she’d unfortunately lose the title to Andrade. She’d get a rematch with Andrade at UFC 251 which she won. This would earn Namajunas another title shot at UFC 261 Namajunas faced off against Weili and won the Strawweight title back.

Namajunas will defend her Strawweight title on November 6th. It should be an awesome fight. Hopefully Namajunas defends her belt.  Namajunas’ life is an amazing story of what it takes to be an awesome fighter and never giving up after tough losses.

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FIGHTER PROFILE: JUSTIN GAETHJE

Justin Gaethje, Daniel Cormier trade barbs over Islam Makhachev

Justin Gaethje will make his return to the UFC Octagon on Saturday against Michael Chandler. It will be Gaethje’s first fight in over a year. Gaethje  will be cornered by Trevor Whitman and will be the first of three of Whitman’s top level fighters fighting that evening. It will be good to see the Former interim Lightweight Champion fight against top level contenders like Chandler, and Gaethje hopes to out wrestle Chandler and put his last fight, a loss to UFC Lightweight Great Khabib Nurmagomedov behind him.


Gaethje was born in Safford Arizona on November 14, 1988 to Carolina and John Ray Gaethje. Gaethje is of German and Mexican descent. Gaethje is one of four children and happens to have a twin brother. Fighting is in Gaethje’s blood; his Grandfather on his father’s side boxed while enlisted in The U.S. Army.


Gaethje started wrestling at the age of four he’d wrestle all through High School and College. In High School Gaethje excelled at wrestling becoming a four-time finalist and two-time state champion. He’d go on to wrestle in college at University of Northern Colorado. He’d go on to do very well in his collegiate career which led him to get inducted into the University of Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame.

Gaethje would start MMA while in college he said of his first experiences with MMA in an interview  with SB Nation’s Bloody elbow “I started wrestling at 4 years old. It was never a dream of mine but I knew I always wanted to compete in something. When I was wrestling in college I took 7 amateur fights without ever being in a street fight, without sparring, without even training MMA. I won those and then decided to find a gym and turn pro” 

Gaethje Would turn pro on  August 20, 2011 when he would fight Kevin Croomat at ROF 41: Bragging Rights. Gaethje would win by KO in the first round. After a few more fights with that promotion he then moved on to the Rage in the Cage promotion. He’d win his three fights with the promotion winning once by submission, once by KO, and once by TKO.  

Gaethje would then move on to the World Series of Fighting promotion. He’d win his first three fights which led him to the inaugural World series of Fighting Lightweight Championship. He’d win the title against Richard Patishnock by TKO (punches and elbows.) He’d defend that title five times which would lead Gaethje to be one of the biggest free agent signings to the UFC ever.

Gaethje Would make his UFC debut against Michael Johnson on July 7, 2017. He’d win by TKO (punches and knees.)  This would lead Gaethje to fight against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 218. Alvarez would win by KO (Knee.) This would lead Gaethje to the biggest challenge of his career thus far and that was future interim Lightweight Champion Dustin Poirier. He’d lose by TKO but Gaethje was down but not out he’d go on to win his next four fights including an Interim Title fight against Tony Ferguson. He’d go on to try to unify that title against undisputed Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He unfortunately wast able to beat the Lightweight G.O.A.T.

Gaethje will make his return to the UFC octagon on November sixth. He will be facing Michael Chandler, and hopefully with a win will cement a title shot with the winner of Oliviera vs Poirier at UFC 269.

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FIGHTER PROFILE: TECIA “TINY TORNADO” TORRES

Tecia Torres | UFC
Torres after winning her bout against Angela Hill at UFC 265

One of the most interesting fighters to come out of The Ultimate Fighter is Tecia Torres. Torres was on Season 20 of the show and since then has made quite a name for herself in the promotion. She’s won her last three fights including a victory at UFC 265 in August. Torres is one tough fighter, and though she’s had a few rough patches in her career she’s come out of those rough patches a better fighter. 

Torres was born August 16, 1989 in Fall River, Massachusetts, U.S. She had a tough upbringing and credits her Mom with always encouraging her to stay on the straight and narrow and for also enrolling her and constantly paying for her Martial Arts training. Torres Started Taekwondo as a child. Torres would receive her black belt after 12 years of training in the sport. Torres is also a Black Belt in Karate and has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Torres also excels out of the Martial arts sphere with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology and a Masters in criminology all from Florida Atlantic University. 

In 2011 Torres started her amature MMA career she’d win each of her seven bouts and would win titles for the 115-pound divisions of MMA Solutions, US Freedom Fighter Championship and American Battle Championships. This early success led to Torres going on to fight MMA professionally. She’d start her professional career by signing with Invicta Fighting Championships. She fought four fights with Invicta and won each of those fights including wins over future UFC Strawweight Paige Vanzant. She also notched a win against future Two time UFC Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas.

This early professional MMA success would lead to Torres to compete On The Ultimate Fighter. During this season the UFC added the strawweight division and the contestants would fight for the UFC Strawweight title. It was the first season where all of the Fighters ended up in the UFC. Torres had found her home and although she has had a rough patch where she lost four fights in a row It should be noted that all but one of Torres’ career losses were to future or former UFC champions.

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Why Are Dana White’s Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter Important To The Sport of MMA?

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18: (R-L) Sean O'Malley punches Alfred Khashakyan in their bantamweight bout during Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series at the TUF Gym on July 18, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/DWTNCS)

Why are Dana White’s Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter important to the sport of MMA? Well, the answer is quite complicated and simple at the same time. The UFC was struggling at certain points of the organization’s early history. First off it wasn’t in the mainstream, and due to the PPV model wasn’t free. The Ultimate Fighter started as a gamble and that gamble paid off. It literally launched the UFC into the stratosphere by putting fights on to peoples TV every week in an easily digestible format called, reality TV. 

During the Ultimate Fighter, fighters would live together in a house, and fights would happen every week. People were already enjoying the show, but no one really knew how much the gamble would pay off until the live finale of season one. The finale between Forrest Griffin and Stephen Bonnar is said to be one of the most influential fights in the young organization’s history. UFC president Dana White, signed a deal to renew The Ultimate Fighter series in an alley behind the Las Vegas arena where the fight took place, as it was such a landmark moment in the organization’s history with ratings off the chart.

Along with the fun coaches challenges and other games played. The audience got to really see how these fighters were actually world class athletes and not just brawlers. One of the main ways the show did this was by showing the fighters training and the coaches working with the fighters of each season.  In a time before Instagram and instagram stories where you can watch your favorite MMA fighters train in the gym at your leisure. It solidified to the viewer the athletic prowess of the UFC fighter.

Since then we’ve seen so many careers launched off of the series including future champions Michael Bisping, Rose Namajunas, and Kamaru Usman.  Stockton’s own Nate Diaz also got his start on the show. Most Recently we saw Bryan Battle and Ricky Turcios win the show in its latest installment in their respective divisions.

Dana White’s Contender series being the younger of the two show’s came at a different time in the sport’s history. The show which premiered as Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series on UFC Fight Pass in July 2017 features multiple weekly fights where fresh faced MMA fighters face each other in three round bouts in hopes to win a contract from Dana White and the UFC. The show which is in its fifth season and now on ESPN+ started on Tuesday August 31st and it is off to a good start with multiple contracts handed out.

Most notably the contender series launched the career of Bantamweight Sean O’Malley who has been launched into super stardom in the fight world after his season one appearance on the show.

These two shows let MMA fans that there’s always a fresh crop of young fighters ready to come up much like how minor league baseball or college football work. Giving the MMA fan a preview of tomorrow’s stars, and watching these young men and women’s dreams and aspirations come to life . 

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