Once an almost sole possession of fighters from the United States, an Ultimate Fighter season title has since launched the UFC careers of some of the promotion’s brightest international contenders and rising stars, including Michael Bisping, Ross Pearson, Robert Whittaker, Norman Parke, Diego Brandao, Rony Jason, Cezar Ferreira, and Leonardo Santos.
So, all eyes will be on FOX Sports 1, as the latest international edition of the hit reality series, The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia, premieres.
Led by TUF veterans Patrick Cote (season four – Canada) and Kyle Noke (season 11 – Australia), eight welterweights and eight middleweights will compete for a UFC contract, and perhaps even more importantly, national bragging rights.
"If guys thought fighting in the toughest tournament on television was hard, imagine how they feel doing it with a whole country on their shoulders," said UFC President Dana White. "These country vs. country seasons of The Ultimate Fighter are awesome because not only do these guys deal with living in a house with other fighters, training twice a day and putting everything on the line for their dream opportunity, but now it's even more personal – it's patriotic. We lined up one of the deepest talent pools with some of the toughest up and coming fighters and put national bragging rights on the line along with the UFC contract, as Canada and Australia go head-to-head to kick off 2014."
And before the fists start flying, here are the teams for the upcoming season:
Olivier Aubin-Mercier, 4-0, 24, Montreal
Matthew Desroches, 4-0, 21, Fredericton
Kajan Johnson, 19-10-1, 29, Montreal
Chad Laprise, 7-0, 27, London, Ont.
Luke Harris, 10-2, 36, St. Albert, Alb.
Nordine Taleb, 8-2, 32, Montreal
Elias Theodorou, 8-0, 25, Toronto
Sheldon Westcott, 8-1, 29, St. Albert, Alb.
Chris Indich, 6-1, 26, Perth, WA
Jake Matthews, 6-0, 19, Melbourne
Brendan O’Reilly, 5-0, 26, Brisbane, QLD
Richard Walsh, 7-1, 24, Sydney
Vik Grujic, 6-2, 36, Melbourne
Daniel Kelly, 6-0, 36, Melbourne
Tyler Manawaroa, 10-0, 19, Brisbane, QLD
Zein Saliba, 4-0, 25, Sydney