The Ultimate Fighter 16 will see 16 of the world’s toughest welterweights make the house and compete for 13 weeks in the hopes of gaining a six-figure contract, as well as the chance to become the newest member of the UFC’s always-interesting welterweight division. With Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin in as coaches for this season, which starts on Friday, Sept. 14, on FX, fans can expect a lot of fireworks inside the cage—and plenty more fireworks outside the cage. We will wait with great interest to see who gets crowned as the season’s winner on Dec. 15, and we can definitely expect this to turn into one of the more memorable seasons of TUF yet.
Before the show launches, let us take a look at the 32 men who will compete in the season premiere, as well as their records, camps, and notable wins—and where you can follow them on Twitter (and we know you want to!) at any time during, before, or after the show airs. Some of them are well-known, while others have flown under the radar without so much as a peep. Trust us when we say, however, that by the end of this season, all of the MMA world will know these men extremely well as they look to do what only a few have done in the past, and become the next Ultimate Fighter!
Alvey is 26 years old and fights out of Murrieta, Calif. He’s a product of Team Quest and has appeared twice under the Bellator banner. His notable wins have come against Karl Amoussou and Jason Guida. Twitter: @SmilenSam
Araujo is 31 years old and fights out of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., though he hails from Patos De Minas, Brazil. He has fought for M-1 Global and KSW and holds notable wins over Dejan Milosevic and Ivica Truscek. Twitter: @igoraraujojj
Awad is 23 and fights out of San Bernardino, Calif. He trains with Millenia MMA. Awad has fought for Strikeforce and Bellator. His most significant fights, both of which he lost, came against Nam Phan and Joe Duarte. Twitter: @SAADMMA
Barrett is an undefeated 26-year-old prospect training out of Arizona Combat Sports and fighting out of Tempe, Ariz. His undefeated streak includes wins over Corey Edwards, Chris Velasquez and Tyler Combs. He has fought for the Arizona-based Rage in the Cage promotion.
Bautista is 26 years old and fights out of Lakewood, Calif. He trains with Subfighter MMA and has a notable 7-0 streak before suffering his only pro loss to TUF 13 vet Ryan McGillivray. Bautista has twice competed under the Canadian Maximum Fighting Championship banner.
Camacho is 23 years old and fights out of Camp Springs, Md. The Team Lloyd Irvin product holds a notable win over prospect Ryan Biglar, and has spent much of his career fighting on Pacific island shows such as URCC, Pacific Xtreme Combat and Trench Warz. One of his pro losses came against UFC veteran Luigi Fiorivanti. Twitter: @crankeffect
Chaney is 25 years old and fights out of Klamath Falls, Ore. He trains out of Goon Squad. His most significant fight came in the form of a loss to Ron Keslar. Twitter: @JamesChaneyMMA
Clark is a 23-year-old fighter hailing from Reno, Nev. He kicked off his career with a five-fight winning streak, and his only pro loss came in 2011 against Bill Widler.
Coleman is 30 years old and fights out of Hugo, Okla. The HIT Squad product holds notable wins over fellow TUF 16 castmate George Lockhart, Lucas Lopes and Cody Donovan. He has fought for Strikeforce, and also held his own against Douglas Lima in a fight that resulted in a split decision win for Lima. Twitter: @THEONEHOLLYWOOD
Diffley is 27 years old and fights out of Las Vegas. He trains at the Throwdown Training Center and has fought under the Superior Cage Combat banner. He holds a win over former WEC veteran and Wand Fight Team product Sidney Silva. Twitter: @CameronDiffley
Ellis is 29 years old and fights out of the United Training Center in Olympia, Wash. His lengthy resume includes fights with Strikeforce, the WEC and XFC. He has competed against the likes of Spencer Fisher and Pay Healy, and holds wins over Tim Welch and James Birdsley. Twitter: @fasteddyellis
Griffin is a 26-year-old fighting out of Sacramento, Calif. He opened his career with four straight wins, including a first-round knockout of Bellator and ShoXC veteran Jaime Jara. Twitter: @maxpain916
Herron-Webb is the youngest competitor on the show at just 22 years of age. The Anchorage, Alaska product trains out of Greatland Martial Arts. All of his 14 career bouts have come in his home state, with nine of his 11 wins coming by way of submission. Twitter: @NapTime_Nic
Hill is 25 years old and fights out of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The Toshido Fighting Arts fighter turned pro in late 2010 and has scored first-round TKO wins in two of his four fights since. Twitter: @mma_michael
Kamaka is a 23-year-old Hawaiian fighting out of Team Guts & Glory and 808 Fight Factory. Hailing from Klaianaei, Kamaka has yet to taste defeat in his young career, finishing three of his four opponents along the way.
Kuntz is 28 years old and fights out of Bismarck, N.D. Kuntz has dominated his regional scene while competing for Impact Fighting Championship and Extreme Beatdown. He holds multiple wins over Nick Wagner and Jordan Shepard.
Lane is a 25-year-old hailing from Mansfield, Ohio. He trains with Wreckroom Athletics and has competed in Bellator. The former lightweight has finished all four of his fights, three by way of guillotine choke.
Legere Jr. is 26 years old and fights out of Corona, Calif. He trains with Millenia MMA and holds otable wins over Chris Spang and Waachim Spiritwolf. Legere was a mainstay in the King of the Cage organization, but has also competed under the Strikeforce banner. Twitter: @theiebadboy
Lockhart is a 29-year-old U.S. Marine from Atlanta. Two prior attempts to make The Ultimate Fighter cast were thwarted when his requests for leave were denied by the Marine Corps. Lockhart, who serves as a martial arts instructor for the Marines, holds a notable win over TJ Cook. Twitter: @LOCKloaded
Magen is 25 years old and fights out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. The former lightweight has picked up three of his wins with the Israel Warrior Challenge promotion. He has stopped three of his four opponents thus far in his career.
Magny is 24 years old and calls Torres MMA in Chicago his home. He hold a unanimous decision win over fellow TUF 16 castmate Kevin Nowaczyk that came at Hoosier Fight Club 7.
Manley is a 26-year-old Team Link fighter from Ludlow, Mass. He holds wins over Strikeforce veteran Sabah Homasi and IFL combatant Nick Calandrino. Three of his wins have come by rear-naked choke.
Marunde is 30 years old and fights out of Las Vegas. He trains at the Throwdown Training Center and has fought for Strikeforce, IFL and M-1 Global. He holds notable wins over Jay Silva and Rich Attonito. Twitter: @BristolMarunde
Michaud is a 23-year-old fighter competing out of Pine Ridge, S.D. Three of his four wins have come by TKO, with two coming in the first minute. He holds a win over well-travelled veteran Derek Abram. Twitter: @bulldawg25
Nowaczyk is 23 years old and is fighting out of Chicago. The POW! MMA trained fighter is veteran of XFO and Hoosier FC. He has competed against fellow TUF castmate Neil Magny and TUF 11 runner-up Kris McCray. In his most recent outing, he claimed a decision over TUF 13 veteran Chuck O’Neil.
Ricci is a 26-year-old Zahabi MMA/TriStar Gym fighter hailing out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. “The Martian” has competed for Bellator and Ringside MMA, and holds a notable win over Jordan Mein. He has also fallen short in contests against Pat Curran and Daron Cruickshank. Twitter: @MikeyRicci
Rivera is a 32-year-old Apex MMA product fighting out of Tucson, Ariz. He has fought under the Cage Fury Fighting Championships and King of the Cage banners and holds notable wins over Shannon Ritch and Doug “Flash” Gordon. Twitter: @Joeyboomboom1
Ruberg is 30 years old and hails from Harrison, Ohio. He holds a notable win over Jason Floyd, but has also dropped a bout to fellow TUF 16 hopeful Jason South. Ruberg has twice competed under the Bellator banner.
Secor is a 25-year-old who enters the season as one of the least experienced fighters in the case of 32. He is 25 years old and fights out of South Glens Falls, N.Y. He trains with Spa City BJJ. The only loss of his pro career came in his sole Bellator appearance, where he dropped a unanimous decision to Nordine Taleb.
Smith is 25 years old and fights out of Fort Hood, Texas by way of Ankeny, Iowa. The U.S. Army Ranger has competed under the M-1 banner and has finished off three of his four opponents in his MMA career. Twitter: @ColtonSmithMMA
South is the oldest competitor on the show at 34 years of age. The former middleweight competes out of West Jordan, Utah and trains with Unified MMA. He holds a win over fellow TUF 16 castmate Tim Ruberg, and has finished all eight of his wins, seven by submission. Twitter: @jasonksouth
Waters is 23 years old and fights out of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance in Santa Rosa, Calif. The former Marine has competed in King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge and BAMMA USA. Three of his wins have come by way of TKO. Twitter: @Shonuff89
Photo: The cast of “The Ultimate Fighter 16″ (MMAJunkie.com)
Editor’s Note: This piece was compiled by Dale De Souza, Bryan Henderson and Rob Tatum.