UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is the most dominant champion in the UFC. The league has had to innovate to find him someone to fight.
The 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter debuts Wednesday, and it features 16flyweight champions from regional promotions in a single elimination tournament, where the champion gets a title shot. There will be two teams, coached by #1 contender Joseph Benavidez vs. #2 ranked Henry Cejudo. The coaches will fight at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale on Dec. 3. Winner presumably gets a title shot too.
In the mean time, there will be 13 weeks of opposing coaches saying mean things about each other, and it has already started.
“Before … I was just annoyed by him,” said Benavidez to Mike Bohn for MMAjunkie. “But now it’s like I don’t like him. So there’s still no major emotional thing there, but before it was like, ‘The guy’s annoying, but I don’t know him that well.’ But after seeing him for six weeks, he’s a real doofus. Now I just actually don’t like him, I guess you could say.
“That’s funny because for me I’ve never really had to dislike anybody that I’ve fought. I never talk smack to anybody or anything, so it’s a little different. It’s just funny because the things I thought about him – so true after seeing him for six weeks.”
“I wasn’t surprised that Demetrious finished [Cejudo]. Look at his fights. No one has ever been impressed by one of his fights. Not once. You’ve never looked at a Henry Cejudo fight and been like, ‘That was super cool. Can’t wait to see him fight again.’ … From watching every other fight, I wasn’t really sure what he was going to do to him. He’s never really hurt anybody or finished them or anything of the sort.”
Still, Benavidez said the coaching experience was excellent, even it was preparing guys for a title shot he still wants.
“One of the best experiences of my career,” said Benavidez. “After doing this 10, going on 11 years – to go and experience this now and look at the fights from a whole other experience, on ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ it was awesome. Definitely challenging, 100 percent rewarding and just an all-around great experience for me. I enjoyed it.
“You hear people not enjoy it or say it was too much or say it was this. I didn’t know what to expect, especially with the format. I went in, and I was a little bitter about the whole situation. A guy getting a title shot, and now I’m supposed to help him? But once we got in there and got settled in, I couldn’t help but care.”