The Ghost of TUF Coaches Past

March 8, 2010

Aside from the expected bickering, low blows, and Dancing with the Stars jokes, no one can really predict what is going to happen between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz when they come head-to-head on TUF 11. Time and time again the two have been measured up against one another as their intense match-ups approached. Now as the premiere of TUF 11 nears, it seems appropriate to size up their performances as coaches on past seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Fortunately for them, neither have much to be ashamed of.

Paving the way for the next ten seasons to come, TUF 1 reached televisions across the U.S. in 2005, with no one quite sure of how things were meant to pan out. The lack of foundation, however, didn't trip up Chuck Liddell's priorities as a coach. He may not have been a fan of trading his team members or sitting at a dunk tank for a team challenge, but his objective was to better his team of fighters, and so he did. His efforts led to both of his team members, Forrest Griffin and Diego Sanchez, taking the season's Ultimate Fighter titles.

Along with Griffin and Sanchez, who have experienced more than successful careers within the UFC, a few others from Team Liddell have led promising careers as well. Though Kenny Florian lost to Diego Sanchez at the season one finale, he's gone on to defeat the likes of Joe Lauzon, Roger Huerta, Joe Stevenson, and Clay Guida. Josh Koshcheck also has risen in the ranks of the UFC since his departure from the TUF house, fighting Diego Sanchez, Georges St. Pierre, Chris Lytle, and Frank Trigg.

Like Liddell, on season three Tito Ortiz showed up to play. Despite his tough-guy persona, Ortiz really exuded his love for the sport in the way he dedicated himself to his team. Of course coaching opposite Ken Shamrock could make most of us eligible candidates for Coach of the Year, anyone who tuned into season three knows that's another story for another day.

Team Ortiz landed itself an impressive 10-3 record (omitting the Light Heavyweight final bout in which two Team Ortiz members fought each other). Even better, Michael Bisping and Kendall Grove, both of Team Ortiz, went on to nab the season three Ultimate Fighter titles.

As Michael Bisping and Kendall Grove developed into big names in the UFC, Matt Hamill, another member of Team Ortiz followed suit. With a 6-2 record, Hamill has fought TUF two's Seth Petruzelli, his cast mate Michael Bisping, and even Rich Franklin, the former Middleweight Champion and a coach from TUF 2.

Overall, at least in terms of coaching, Liddell and Ortiz appear to be deadlocked. Neither would be pleased with a tie. Luckily TUF 11 is only a couple of weeks away, granting them a perfect opportunity to settle the score. May the best coach win!