Frank Mir. Photo by Tracy Lee. Courtesy of CombatLifestyle.com.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Frank Mir and the organization’s current interim title holder, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, have been selected to serve as the coaches for the upcoming eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”.
SpikeTV officials confirmed the previously rumored news this afternoon in a press release sent out to the media.
Mir will try to continue a successful road back from a near career-ending motorcycle accident when he takes on Nogueira at the conclusion of the show, which will begin taping later this week. He was originally slated to take on Team Punishment member Justin McCully in July, but was abruptly removed from the card once the UFC decided to use him on the popular reality show.
Mir is now riding a wave of two straight impressive performances. He slowly crept back into title contention after his submission win over former professional wrestler turned mixed martial artist Brock Lesnar at UFC 81: Breaking Point in February.
Meanwhile Nogueira became the first mixed martial artist in history to hold championship gold inside the confines of both the UFC and PRIDE Fighting Championships as he submitted former two-time champion Tim Sylvia to win the interim UFC heavyweight belt in February as well. With current champion Randy Couture all but finished with the promotion, the winner of the showdown with Mir later this year will almost surely become the sole title holder.
Mir has already made it known that he’d love to be a coach during a future season of the show and he’ll get his chance now. He wanted it to lead to a rematch with Tim Sylvia, but now that the Miletich Fighting Systems product has been released from the UFC, that won’t be happening anytime soon.
His fight with Nogueira will pit two of the world’s top heavyweight grapplers against each other. While Mir might be marketable because of his win over Lesnar and WEC color commentating job, casual fans aren’t all that familiar with Nogueira, who has only fought twice inside the promotion. It could be the making of a potential negative hit to ratings but rumor has it that the UFC has a plan to showcase the Brazilian and expose his personality to fans.
The winter season will mark the first time that the reality show has ever featured two heavyweights as coaches. It will also return to the show’s original format of featuring two separate weight classes - eight lightweights and light heavyweights (155 lbs and 205 lbs) will compete for the coveted six-figure UFC contract. The cast is expected to be announced sometime in September.
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