The next season of the Ultimate Fighter might end up looking more like an episode of Pros vs Joes than anything else: a few football players showed up for the tryouts in Seattle yesterday:
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer first round draft pick turned pro MMA fighter Marcus Jones was on hand to tryout as a heavyweight. Jones played his college ball at the University of North Carolina where he was a standout All-American defensive lineman. Thus far as a mixed martial artist, Jones has put together a solid record of (4-2), stringing up back-to-back technical knockout wins over Mike Ottman and John Juarez, respectively.
Former Texas Tech defensive lineman and Indianapolis Colts practice squad player, Rex Richards, was also in Seattle trying to land a gig on the show. He, too, tried out as a heavyweight. Richards has been very impressive so far in his MMA career, boasting a record of (6-1), and having never been taken out of the first round. His only loss came at the hands of current UFC contender Shane Carwin in October 2007.
And last but not least, ex-Green Bay Packer running back Herbert “Whisper” Goodman tried out as a light heavyweight. He’s put together a record of (9-6) so far as a pro mixed martial artist, most recently knocking out UFC veteran Jordan Radev in the second round at M-1 Challenge 13 less than two weeks ago.
No word of a Bobby Lashley appearance, but that doesn’t mean he’s definitely not going to be on the show. A good chunk of contestants end up getting on the show outside the public tryout system arranged by the UFC. I have no doubt that if Lashley decides he wants onto the show, he’ll be there.
Past that, this is an encouraging sign that the 10th season of TUF might churn out a heavyweight prospect or two. The last time TUF had heavyweight teams was TUF 2, and the only guys still around are now at 205: Keith Jardine and Rashad Evans. Since then the UFC has tried to do another season but a shallow talent pool to draw from has nixed the plans. Will the availability of some footballers at heavyweight mean we’re gonna see the return of the big dudes?