When the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter debuts on Fox Sports 1 this fall, all eyes will be focused on the heated rivalry between UFC women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey and nemesis Miesha Tate.
The two coaches have both seen a meteoric rise in fame since their highly entertaining 2012 Strikeforce title fight. Rousey has been transformed into the face of women's MMA now that she's the first female fighter to claim UFC gold.
And while "Rowdy's" crossover star power coupled with the conflict between her and Tate will likely make for some great and dramatic television, Rousey hopes that the show will also help increase visibility for some of the lesser-known fighters who will be joining the UFC's budding women's division.
“I don’t need this show. I already have my options,” Rousey said in a recent interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Adam Hill. “But I want this division to work and I want it to keep going without me there. I think this show is the best way to increase the depth of the women’s division and get attention to the women’s division and get to know that there are good fighters there, people just don’t know who they are."
It's a nice sentiment by the reigning women's champ, but the drama between her and Tate is already starting to make headlines, so I wouldn't be surprised if their rivalry overshadows the actual competition.
UFC president Dana White recently told reporters that tension between the two coaches is already starting to boil over.
"It's going exactly the way you thought it would be going: bad," White said following a media event for UFC 161 . "Dead serious. Miesha and Ronda hate each other. It's literally crazy drama every day. It's irritating."
The big boss even went so far as to compare the hatred Rousey and Tate have for each other to the TUF season 3 rivalry between Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz.
Despite being apart of the ensuing drama, Rousey seems sincere when she says that she wants to help build the UFC's new women's division.
“I’m doing this show more in the interest of the division than to really accomplish very much personally," she said.
I guess we'll have to wait until Sept. 4 to see if the Rousey-Tate drama will leave the female competitors fighting in the shade.