For the first time in history, The Ultimate Fighter will feature an all-female cast in its new season. However, instead of fighters competing for the usual prize of a six-figure contract with the UFC, these women will compete to be the first-ever UFC women's strawweight champion.
UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and No. 3 ranked lightweight contender, Gilbert Melendez, will serve as the coaches. Both men will then face off in their own championship fight at UFC 182 next January.
The top 115-pound females on the planet will compete over the course of the season for the honor of joining current UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey as the face of women's MMA. The cast includes a pair of former Invicta FC champions, a former International Kickboxing Federation women's bantamweight, a U.S. kickboxing champion, an astrophysicist and a even a former professional hockey player.
Just like previous seasons, the competitors will be split up into two separate teams, one by Pettis and the other by Melendez. The series will chronicle the teams through the tournament as they live and train together in preparation for their fights. The season finale will feature a matchup between the two finalists at The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale in late 2014, where the inaugural champion will be crowned.
The competitors are listed in alphabetical order:
- Joanne Calderwood (8-0), 27, Glasgow, Scotland
- Alex Chambers (4-1), 35, Sydney, Australia
- Heather Jo Clark (6-4), 34, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Aisling Daly (14-3), 26, Dublin, Ireland
- Lisa Ellis (15-8), 31, Olympia, Wash.
- Carla Esparza (9-2), 26, Redondo Beach, Calif.
- Felice Herrig (9-5), 29, Crystal Lake, Ill.
- Angela Hill (1-0), 29, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Emily Peters Kagan (3-1), 32, Bangor, Maine
- Justine Kish (4-0), 26, Cramerton, N.C.
- Angela Magana (11-6), 30, Farmington, N.M.
- Randa Markos (4-1), 28, Windsor, Canada
- Rose Namajunas (2-1), 22, Milwaukee, Wis.
- Jessica Penne (11-2), 31, Huntington Beach, Calif.
- Bec Rawlings (5-3), 25, Launceston, Tasmania
- Tecia Torres (4-0), 24, Fall River, Mass.
Former UFC champions Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Matt Serra and current champion T.J. Dillashaw have all emerged from The Ultimate Fighter series.