Just a little less than two weeks before the debut of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, the UFC has revealed the full list of fighters who will competing on the show.
USA Today (via MMA Junkie) broke the news on Wednesday, providing the names of 28 middleweights from various corners of the world.
Moreover, the level of talent seems to be a notch above what previous seasons have brought to the reality TV show in recent years. MMA Junkie notes that this season's cast includes seven undefeated fighters, with over 200 professional MMA victories between all the competitors.
Here are the fighters who will be seen in the season premiere as they go through the elimination rounds to earn a spot into the TUF house. By proxy, they'll also be battling for a chance to be coached by either UFC champion Jon Jones or former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen:
• Dylan Andrews (16-4-1), 32, Gold Coast, Australia (via New Zealand)
• Kito Andrews (9-2), 34, Sacramento, Calif.
• Luke Barnatt (5-0), 24, Cambridge, England
• Leo Bercier (7-2), 31, Great Falls, Mont.
• Ryan Bigler (9-3), 28, Yona, Guam
• Kevin Casey (5-2), Hawthorne, Calif.
• Adam Cella (4-0), 27, Fenton, Mo.
• Zak Cummings (15-3), 28, Kansas City, Mo.
• Andy Enz (6-1), 21, Anchorage, Alaska
• Nik Fekete (5-1), 32, Las Vegas
• Kelvin Gastelum (5-0), 20, Yuma, Ariz.
• Uriah Hall (7-2), 28, New York City (via Jamaica)
• Collin Hart (4-1-1), 23, Santa Rosa, Calif.
• Clint Hester (7-3), 25, Atlanta
• Jake Heun (3-2), 25, Salt Lake City
• Mike Jasper (6-0), 29, Camarillo, Calif.
• Nicholas Kohring (3-0), 22, Valley Springs, Calif.
• Robert "Bubba" McDaniel (20-6), 29, Albuquerque, N.M.
• Fraser Opie (10-5), 29, Milton Keynes, England (via South Africa)
• Mike Persons (3-0), 28, Manteca, Calif.
• Jimmy Quinlan (3-0), 26, Metheun, Mass.
• Scott Rosa (4-1), 26, Sparks, Nev.
• Joshua Samman (9-2), 24, Tallahassee, Fla.
• Gilbert Smith Jr. (5-1), Colorado Springs, Colo.
• Eldon Sproat (3-1), 27, Molokai, Hawaii
• Tor Troeng (15-4-1), 29, Umea, Sweden
• Eric Wahlin (5-1), 29, Taylorsville, Utah
• Timothy Williams (7-1), 26, Millville, N.J.
Aside from the rivalry between coaches Jones and Sonnen, one of the major points of interest for Season 17 has been Dana White's cryptic stories about one fighter who "terrified" the entire cast during filming.
As White originally told members of the MMA media last December (via MMA Fighting), this same fighter is apparently so dangerous, he sent every single one of his opponents out of the Octagon in the back of an ambulance:
The whole house is terrified of this guy. F-- terrified. Everybody. I picked this fight, and this guy is lined up with the guy I'm telling you about, and the guy has a nervous breakdown in the house over the weekend. Has a f-- nervous breakdown. Freaks out and has a nervous breakdown. This guy scared the living s--- out of everyone. It's awesome.
Fans will likely be tipped off if a fighter is sent to hospital in the first episode, but regardless, the season premiere will kick off Tuesday, Jan. 22 on FX with a special two-hour episode. In a move to secure better TV ratings, this will be the show's first night moved off of the prior Friday night schedule that was tested earlier last year.
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