Summary: The Ultimate Fighter is a reality television series produced by the UFC. Season 13 featured welterweight competitors coached by Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
1. Coaches and Contestants
The coaches for season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter were UFC bantamweights Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. The welterweight contestants included such future UFC fighters as Tony Ferguson, who won the season, and current welterweight champ Kamaru Usman. The Cruz-Faber dynamic on the show was highly entertaining, as the two had a longstanding rivalry that played out during every episode.
Each coach selected a team of eight welterweights to train and fight against each other throughout the course of the season. The coaches also lived in the same house as the contestants, which oftentimes led to heated arguments and pranks being played on each other.
Fighter introductions and team selections highlighted the first episode, followed by live fights airing every Wednesday night on Spike TV throughout the natural season cycles in 2011.
2. Challenges and Training
In addition to their regular fights, the contestants were put through a series of physical and mental challenges designed to test their abilities outside of the Octagon. These challenges ranged from obstacle courses to puzzle-solving contests, with the winners receiving rewards like custom clothing or training sessions with respected coaches.
The fighters trained together under their respective coaches, learning new techniques and sharpening their skills as they prepared for their upcoming bouts. The trash talk between the teams was ever-present, further adding to the tense atmosphere inside the TUF house.
At times, the coaches themselves would engage in training sessions with their fighters, demonstrating advanced techniques and offering advice on strategy and mindset.
3. Fights and Eliminations
The main focus of each episode was the live fights between the welterweight contestants. These bouts were evenly matched and highly competitive, with both teams vying for the season championship and a guaranteed UFC contract.
After each fight, the coaches and fighters gathered in the living room to watch the judges’ decision. The loser of each bout was then eliminated from the competition, leaving just eight fighters standing at the end of the regular season.
The finale of season 13 saw Tony Ferguson defeat Ramsey Nijem by first-round knockout, earning him a six-figure UFC contract and the title of Ultimate Fighter.
4. Drama and Entertainment
Beyond the actual fighting, season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter was packed with drama and entertainment. The personalities on the show ranged from quiet and reserved to outspoken and bombastic, with everyone jockeying for position and trying to get ahead.
In one notable incident, wildcard participant Chris Cope drunkenly urinated on teammate Javier Torres’ bed, leading to a season-long feud between the two fighters.
Other memorable moments included UFC president Dana White publicly chastising the fighters for their poor performances, and a mid-season fight between coaches Cruz and Faber at a promotional event.
5. Legacy and Impact
Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter showcased some of the best up-and-coming talent in the sport, many of whom went on to have successful careers in the UFC. Tony Ferguson, the winner of the season, became a top lightweight contender and interim champion before recently being released from the promotion due to personal issues.
Kamaru Usman, currently the UFC welterweight champion, was also a contestant on the show, proving that the talent level was as high as ever during season 13.
The dynamic between coaches Cruz and Faber set a new standard for in-house drama and entertainment, leading to future TUF seasons featuring heated rivalries between coaches like Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber, and Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw.
Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter was one of the more memorable and entertaining instalments of the long-running reality show. With its top-notch coaching, talented contestants, and high level of drama, it set the stage for many future seasons to come.
Though not without its controversies, the legacy of season 13 lives on through the fighters who participated and the many viewers who were entertained by their exploits inside and outside of the Octagon.