The UFC has finally broken into Mexico.
On Tuesday, UFC President Dana White met with the media during a special press conference in Mexico City to officially announce the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America.
Also on hand were UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez and current number one contender Fabricio Werdum, who will be serving as opposing coaches before their championship bout set to take place at UFC 180 in Mexico City.
Velasquez (13-1), who is currently the number one ranked heavyweight and number three pound-for-pound according to the official Power MMA rankings, is coming off a dominant fifth round TKO victory over longtime rival Junior dos Santos at UFC 166 in October. Since that night, the former ASU Wrestling All-American has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. He was recently cleared to begin training with his right hand again but lingering injuries to his left have kept the champion out of the training room.
Werdum (18-5-1), currently the number two ranked heavyweight, earned his shot at Velasquez with a 25-minute beatdown over Travis Browne in the main event of UFC on FOX 11 earlier this month. This gives the Brazilian submission artist wins in seven of his last eight bouts, including four in a row under the UFC banner.
This announcement marks the UFC’s long awaited debut into Latin America, a demographic White has referred to on numerous occasions as one of the most important in all of combat sports.
“Any of you that have followed [the UFC] or have followed this sport will know that I have been talking about Mexico for a very, very long time,” White told reporters. “I believe that Mexico works very well with this demographic, with this sport and I always knew we’d be big here if we ever got the opportunity to come here.
“Some of the greatest fighters throughout the history of the world have been Latino and more importantly have been Mexican. Mexicans have dominated the lighter weight classes for years…so to finally be here, in front of you, it’s amazing. It’s been a long time coming for me.”
This season, which will begin filming the week of May 12 in Las Vegas, will feature fighters from both the bantamweight (135 lbs.) and featherweight (145 lbs.) divisions. The live season finale will also take place at UFC 180 on November 18. No other bouts besides the main event have been announced.
Registration for The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America can be found here.