Thursday, May 28, 2009
by Brian Knapp
Former UFC light heavyweight champions Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Rashad Evans will oppose one another as coaches on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. Spike TV officials made the announcement on Thursday.
The season, which will feature 16 heavyweights, will premiere on Spike TV on Sept. 16. The show -- which has served as a launching pad for stars like Forrest Griffin, Kenny Florian and Josh Koscheck -- has not showcased heavyweights since Season 2.
“The tenth season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ is going to be the most highly anticipated one in years, and with two of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world today, both of which have personalities as large as their skill sets, it promises to deliver,” UFC President Dana White said in an official release.
Jackson and Evans have a brief but heated history with one another. The two light heavyweights traded verbal barbs after the UFC 96 main event in March, when Jackson eked out a decision against Keith Jardine, Evans’ close friend and teammate. Jackson was expected to challenge Evans for the light heavyweight crown at UFC 98, but he withdrew his name from consideration, and the title shot instead went to Lyoto Machida. The undefeated Brazilian knocked out Evans in the second round. The Jackson-Evans matchup -- which will likely be booked for later this year -- still carries plenty of appeal, even though neither man holds any hardware.
Affiliated with the Wolfslair Academy in Liverpool, England, Jackson (30-7) has posted eight wins in nine fights, losing only to Griffin in that span. The charismatic Tennessee native holds high-profile victories against future UFC hall of famer Chuck Liddell (twice), two-time Olympian Dan Henderson and former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Wanderlei Silva, among others. Jackson, who turns 31 in June, has delivered 21 of his 30 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Evans (13-1-1), who won the heavyweight competition on Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” finds himself on the rebound for the first time in his career after his brutal knockout loss to Machida on May 23. Based out of Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, N.M., the 29-year-old stopped Griffin on third-round strikes at UFC 92 to capture the light heavyweight crown, only to surrender it five months later. He counts victories against Liddell, Michael Bisping and Stephan Bonnar among his 13 career conquests.
Shooting on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter” will commence in June and will cover the customary six weeks. “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale will be held on Dec. 5 in Las Vegas.