The Ultimate Fighter franchise has always had a knack for introducing the world to the future stars of our sport. Continuing that tradition, season 18 did not disappoint with its emergence of The Ultimate Fighter champion Chris “Holds it Down” Holdsworth.

The mystery behind this fighter, who was already one to watch upon his entry on the show, left many spectators wondering if a champion was predetermined before the finale even began.

Investigating his martial arts background, the argument could be made that his roots already set him on a course of one day reaching UFC prominence. His foundation in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu found the young Holdsworth instilled with knowledge directly from the legendary MMA pioneering Gracie family. Under great mentorship, Holdsworth developed an unmatched competitive nature which paid great dividends on his rise in the grappling circuit. Nevertheless, as a fighter always, he has the desire to push himself to greater heights.

“Jiu-Jitsu was a big influence, which undoubtedly helped me to become the person I am today,” Holdsworth told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview.

The main goal has always been to challenge himself. His new venture as an MMA fighter provided another opportunity to do that. With an undefeated streak in a little over four years’ time from the amateur ranks to the pro level, Holdsworth had already configured an impressive resume that made him a candidate for the UFC.

With all this wealth of experience and notoriety to his name, he entered into the reality series. It seemed liked the next step not only in testing his limits as a fighter, but also in reaching the big show, much like the pioneers who influenced him.

Watching the show on a weekly basis, it is apparent that Holdsworth was in a class by himself over the rest of the cast. He submitted all three of his opponents, and his well-rounded combination of stand-up striking and relentless ground game proved to be the factor in the preliminary matches’ outcomes. Blocking out all media and other factors that come with being a part of the show, Holdsworth set his eyes on his goal of winning. That laser focus led him straight to the finals.

“It all comes down to how bad you want it, and my overall focus [for] being on the show was to become The Ultimate Fighter champion,” Holdsworth explained.

Growing extensively in his current training in Sacramento, Calif., with Team Alpha Male, Holdsworth couldn’t be in a better place, mentally and physically. With this great support system of new mentors guiding him, Holdsworth has seen all the results from the hard work in the gym revealed as he took on Davey Grant at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale.

Holdsworth weathered the first round, which could have gone either way. The second round saw another stream of déjà vu, with a submission finish leading to Holdsworth’s crowning as The Ultimate Fighter champion. His win also earned him the six-figure contract.

“It was such a surreal thing for me,” Holdsworth admitted. “Still hard to shake the smile off my face that all the hard work in the gym and sacrifice paid off.”

This milestone is only the tip of the iceberg of a promising career in the UFC for the young bantamweight. Holdsworth is not familiar with the meaning of the word “off-season.” If he was, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Photo: Chris Holdsworth (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Monta Wiley
Staff Writer

Monta Wiley is an aspiring sports journalist that has covered the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been a regular contributor to US Combat Sports. Monta has a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration from California State University-Los Angeles. Outside of his writing, you can find Monta at the gym honing his BJJ technique.