On Friday the UFC announced a blockbuster heavyweight title bout between Stipe Miocic and 205-pound champion Daniel Cormier to headline what is expected to be a mammoth card in Las Vegas on July 7th.
Not only that, the two champions have agreed to serve as coaches on the 27th season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will feature unbeaten featherweights and lightweights. None of the 16 cast members this season have tasted professional defeat and, due to the status of the bouts in the competition being classified as an exhibition, each cast member will leave the show with their unblemished records intact. However, just two fighters will get to call themselves a TUF champion.
A wide spectrum of fighters have been selected to appear in this year’s cast, with fighters from Costa Rica, Australia and Spain contributing to the show’s international flavour. From an Irish perspective, Richie Smullen of SBG Ireland will be the focus.
Smullen (3-0-1) is part of the next generation of fighters training under John Kavanagh at SBG Ireland and has been impressing under the BAMMA banner in recent appearances. A danger on the ground, as well as on the feet, the Arklow native already has two heel hook submissions on his professional ledger.
The full cast for TUF 27: Undefeated can be seen below.
Thailand Clark – 7-0 | 28 | Fort Worth, Texas
Joe Giannetti – 6-0 | 22 | Norwell, Mass.
John Gunther – 6-0 | 32 | Cleveland, Ohio
José Martinez Jr.– 4-0 | 27 | Lorain, Ohio
Luis Peña – 4-0 | 24 | Hillsboro, Miss. by way of Naples, Italy
Richie Smullen – 3-0-1 | 26 | Arklow, Ireland
Mike Trizano – 6-0 | 25 | Ramsey, N.J.
Allan Zuniga – 13-0 | 25 | San Miguel, Costa Rica
Jay Cucciniello – 8-0 | 31 | Malaga, Spain by way of Dublin, Ireland
Tyler Diamond – 9-0 | 26 | Oroville, Calif.
Brad Katona – 6-0 | 25 | Dublin, Ireland by way of Winnipeg, Canada
Bryce Mitchell – 9-0 | 23 | Cabot, Ark.
Suman Mokhtarian – 8-0 | 25 | Sydney, Australia
Dulani Perry – 4-0 | 31 | Houston, Texas
Kyler Phillips – 5-0 | 22 | Surprise, Ariz.
Ricky Steele – 5-0 | 29 | Boise, Ida.