Two of the most exciting fighters in the history of MMA will square off in the Octagon — but first as coaches.
Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje will coach opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter 26, which begins airing Aug. 30 on FS1, the UFC officially announced Monday. The season will debut a new women’s flyweight division to the UFC and the finale, likely in December, will crown the UFC’s first women’s 125-pound champion.
Gaethje (18-0) had one of the most memorable debuts in UFC history, beating Michael Johnson by second-round TKO at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale earlier this month. Gaethje came back from being wobbled twice to score the violent finish, something longtime fans have expected to see from the former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion. Gaethje, 28, has long been one of the most entertaining, action fighters in the world.
Alvarez (28-5, 1 NC) is the former UFC lightweight champion and he, too, has been known for historically epic and violent battles in the cage. The Philadelphia native is coming off a no contest against Dustin Poirier at UFC 211 in May, a fight that ended with Alvarez landing an illegal knee. Alvarez, 33, is also a former champion in Bellator, Dream and Bodog Fight.
The winner of Alvarez vs. Gaethje will cement a place near the top of the lightweight division. This season of TUF will be the first since 2014 to crown a new UFC champion.