The next international season of “The Ultimate Fighter” now has its coaches, as UFC President Dana White announced Wednesday night that Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos will participate in the upcoming edition of the long-running reality series.
As the title would suggest, 'TUF: Australia vs. U.K.' will feature fighters from Australia and the United Kingdom battling in the lightweight and welterweight divisions. The series will be filmed Down Under and will also be known as 'TUF: The Smashes,' a play on the longstanding cricket rivalry between the nations. A premiere date for the season has not yet been announced, but it will air on FX.
White also confirmed that Pearson and Sotiropoulos will square off at the end of filming. Though the UFC boss did not reveal at what weight the fight would be contested, the announcement could mean a drop to featherweight for Sotiropoulos, as Pearson recently made the cut to 145 pounds.
Born in Sunderland, England, Pearson, 27, made a successful featherweight debut against Junior Assuncao this past December, earning a unanimous decision at UFC 141. His next in-cage outing would not prove as kind, however, as “The Real Deal” was clipped by a beautiful counter left hook from Cub Swanson that signaled the end for the Brit at UFC on FX 4.
Sotiropoulos, meanwhile, has not competed since July of last year, when he was knocked cold by Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 132. That defeat marked the second straight loss for the native Australian, who was outpointed by Dennis Siver the previous February in a bout that snapped an eight-fight winning streak for the 34-year-old.