The Ultimate Fighter reality show has been a hit ever since unknowns became stars when Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar squared off in the first-season finale of the show’s seven-year run. Many fighters who claimed the trophy—and even some who fell short in their quest on the show—have been very successful in the UFC, but for the most part haven’t been able to capture and retain a title belt for a long period of time.

Over the course of seven years, things have changed for the long-running series. Last season, fans witnessed the first-ever live edition of the show, where all the fights were broadcast in real time as they were taking place on Friday night. And for the next season of the show, there will be no tryouts to determine who makes the cast. Instead, Dana White and the UFC staff will pick and choose who they believe has the most potential.

This is a better approach, but also is a heartbreaker for guys who fight in smaller organizations that don’t get the spotlight. Usually, the guys chosen have a short list of fights on their record, but with this new idea, it appears the UFC will target top-notch fighters with experience under their belt. Also, the UFC appears to be targeting fighters who have tried out for past seasons, but were not selected for the show.

Is this a good idea or bad?

Personally, I think this is good for the series. It never hurts to try something new, and with the low ratings from last season, it appears something drastic needs to happen.

The UFC will focus on one weight class for this season: welterweights. The promotion will be searching for the next Georges St-Pierre to add to the already stacked division.

As I go through the list of 170-pound fighters throughout the country who have tried out for the series but didn’t make it, I can come up with many names who deserve their chance to earn a six-figure UFC contract. Some have fought for a well-known regional promotion, gone undefeated while in that promotion, and may even hold a title belt. This is the type of fighter the UFC will be searching for.

While recruiting guys for the next season, which is expected to do away with the live format, the UFC will look all across the country at guys who have fell short in fulfilling their dreams. With the revelation of the UFC’s selection method, it will give fighters motivation to go out and impress in their bouts. White wants guys who finish fights, and he’ll be able to find the cream of the crop with this new idea.

The interview process is currently underway, with the UFC calling fighters and flying them to Las Vegas for interviews. Skill seems to be the primary mindset of the UFC coming into this season.

The Ultimate Fighter has always produced quality guys, but the UFC is looking for the next Jon Jones. The past seasons’ cast members have been solid, but the upcoming cast is sure to be a stacked group where anyone is capable of winning the trophy.

Look at all the current champions; none of these men emerged from The Ultimate Fighter series. The show is supposed to be a breeding ground where future long-reigning champions are made. For the most part, all past winners have turned out to be mid-tier fighters, which is why the UFC is searching from east to west and north to south for guys who are championship material.

With this new format, the UFC should be able to put together many storylines as well. Since many of next season’s roster tried out for the show once or many times before, the UFC will have a gold mine of inspiring stories about overcoming adversity to get another shot at joining the UFC. And, given the complaints of not enough emphasis on fighters’ backgrounds during the live season, this should give fans a reason to return for the upcoming edition.

Bottom line: It’s time for The Ultimate Fighter to become one of the most watched shows on TV, and with this new concept, the series is moving in the right direction.

Photo: TUF Live winner Michael Chiesa (top) (Al Powers/Zuffa, LLC)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.