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Dana White’s Rival for ‘TUF-Like’ Series Signs Ex-UFC Champs as Coaches

Published 03/26/2024, 4:46 PM EDT

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When Dana White and the Fertitta brothers took over the UFC in 2001, the promotion was on the verge of bankruptcy. Banned in many states in the United States including New York, it was seen as a barbaric and violent sport, relegated to holding events at community centres and the like in third-tier cities and losing money hand over fist.

What really helped the UFC turn things around and ‘saved’ the UFC was its flagship reality TV show ‘The Ultimate Fighter’. Before TUF, the UFC was struggling financially and lacked mainstream acceptance. and had a niche fanbase. After TUF, however the UFC gained a boost in its viewership, recognition across the US, and led to its first profitable quarter and started the promotion to becoming one of the four biggest sports in the US. And it seems two former UFC champions are trying to get lightning to strike twice with the Hardcore Fighting Championship (HFC).

Former Dana White led UFC champions to kick-off ‘TUF’ rival

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Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold and former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley were seen at the UFC Gym in Dubai wearing Hardcore Fighting Championship (HFA) apparel of different colors with other fighters wearing the same apparel as one of them.

They could be seen training, coaching, strategizing, and mentoring in the images that were doing the rounds on the internet, which led to speculations that the duo may be serving as head coaches on for the HFA.

And that indeed is the case, as the officials of Hardcore FC confirmed that Rockhold and Woodley would star in the first season of HFA’s answer to ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ “It’s official. Former UFC and STRIKEFORCE Champions Luke Rockhold and Tyrone Woodley will head the teams in the first season of HFC FIGHT SHOW REALITY,” it was announced. This announcement, however, raises a very important question.

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Will Woodley and Rockhold fight each other?

It is customary for fighters who appear as rival coaches on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ to fight each other following the conclusion of the season. In fact, the UFC uses ‘TUF’ to create hype and excitement for a big fight that it wants to promote and build up.

If the same tradition is followed in HFC, then this raises the question of whether Tyron Woodley and Luke Rockhold would face each other after the finale of ‘HFC Fight Show Reality’s inaugural season. While the two fought at different divisions, weight class is not expected to be an issue since Woodley fought at 170 pounds and Rockhold fought as a reasonably close 185-pound middleweight.

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However, both men’s careers have gone downhill in recent years, with Rockhold returning to face ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry in a teeth-breaking bareknuckle bout at BKFC. Woodley, on the other hand, has not won an MMA match since losing his title to Kamaru Usman at UFC 235. His last fight ended in disaster and had the misfortune of getting knocked out clean by Jake Paul in their boxing rematch in December 2021. Do you think Woodley and Rockhold should fight at the end of their reality TV season?

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Written by:

Kanishk Thakur

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Kanishk Thakur is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports with nearly 5 years of professional writing experience. Kanishk has expertly covered the heated rivalries of the fight game, and delivered meticulous reports of payouts of PPV events and Fight Nights, in addition to covering the personal side of fighters outside the sport. He is also an ardent Joe Rogan fan, who hopes to draw in more fans to the sport as Rogan did for him.
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