Bellator Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader is among the coaches looking to help UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler achieve victory on this year’s edition of The Ultimate Fighter.
Earlier this year, the highly anticipated return of Conor McGregor was confirmed. As many had predicted and hoped, the Irishman’s first fight since recovering from the leg break he suffered in 2021 will come opposite Chandler.
But before they share the Octagon, the former two-division UFC champion and the former three-time Bellator titleholder are battling as coaches on the 31st season of TUF, filming for which began last week.
As always, the duo won’t be looking to guide their teams to success alone, with each star bringing together a dedicated team of coaches to help develop the aspiring UFC fighters.
Chandler Calls On Aid Of Experienced Bader
With filming getting underway, some more details have emerged surrounding the familiar faces viewers will be seeing throughout the season, including those wearing the red of Team Chandler.
Unsurprisingly, the #5-ranked UFC lightweight contender has sought the aid of some notable figures from his gym, Florida’s Kill Cliff FC. That includes boxing coach Jason Strout, who can often be seen cornering the team’s fighters in various promotions.
Strout will also be joined by Kill Cliff FC wrestling coach Greg Jones, one of the most successful American collegiate wrestlers of all-time, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu trainer Robert Drysdale, who won gold at the 2005 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship and 2007 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.
Chandler’s team was revealed in an image posted online by its final member, Bellator Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader. As well as both being a part of the promotion’s roster before Chandler’s UFC signing, the pair trained together at Power MMA after “Iron” left San Diego’s Alliance in 2015.
In addition to bringing with him the talents that still see him sat atop Bellator’s heavyweight mountain, Bader will also bring some previous TUF experience to Team Chandler.
The 39-year-old Nevada native forged a path to the UFC by winning the eighth season of the reality series in 2008. As part of Team Nogueira, “Darth” Bader emerged victorious by knocking out Vinny Magalhães in the finale.
Gordon Ryan said he wanted on Chandlers team. Especially if Conor is bringing in Danis.
I’m very surprised the UFC allows that. To them Bellator doesn’t even exist. Just like Pride FC didn’t until they bought it.