First of all, I love the concept of this season. The concept that flyweight champions from every organisation have been brought in to compete for a UFC title shot is genius. Selling this season as the Tournament of Champions makes it really interesting. It feels so much more important. Seeing the fighter’s walk in with their belts was really cool.
The concept of this season also raises Demetrious Johnson’s stock. It makes ‘Mighty Mouse’ seem unstoppable if a whole season of The Ultimate Fighter is centered on finding someone that can beat him. Although, the show hasn’t lost it’s most interesting element: seeing two of the sports greats train up and coming prospects.
It was interesting to see that difference in how they are treated. Dana White made a point of telling them that it is their gym, their house, whatever they want they can have. That has never been the case when it was relatively inexperienced talents.
The benefit of having competitors that are already world champions is that the fighter are much more exciting. These men are already badasses. The first scrap of the season between Moreno and Pantoja was a real slug fest.
We of course also saw a big first round knockout in the second fight. That was a clean finish; a lot of MMA fights end in a TKO where a knockdown leads to ground and pound. This was not the case, it was a one punch KO. I have to say, the moment Benavidez consoled his fighter after he lost was almost moving. This is why The Ultimate Fighter is one of the best TV shows on television.
MMA is already the best form of high drama but to get the back-stories and motivations of the fighters also, makes it even more effective. This is required viewing for any martial arts fan and I can see this show drawing in non-fans also.
The coming episodes should deliver some great drama and exciting fights. We are going to see the best flyweights in the world fight for a championship shot. Even better, when all is said and done Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo will throwdown on the TUF finale. This is a pivotal time for the flyweight division.