The latest season of The Ultimate Fighter wasn't like any other. Not only did the UFC pluck up all regional champions from the four corners of the Earth like some sort of MMA rapture, but the winner of the tournament would get an immediate title shot against a guy both their coaches lost to — an idea Demetrious Johnson loved.
The situation is not something that the show shied away from though. #JosephBenavidez had fought and lost twice against UFC flyweight champion Johnson and #HenryCejudo is fresh off his first defeat at #UFC197. They were hoping to carry on their experience points to the new challengers that arrived.
During the show, both coaches showed the tape of their losses and did play-by-play to their team. Benavidez publicly relived both his tough decision and brutal knockout loss, trying to illustrate to the crew what he did wrong. If anything, it's valuable insight from arguably the best opponent Johnson has ever had to this day and will probably have again if he and Johnson both win at the finale.
“The top dogs, I’ve beat them already. Now, I’m fighting the guys who, they’re good guys, but they’re not a Joseph [Benavidez] or a [John] Dodson.” - Demetrious Johnson on MMAJunkie radio.
While it is difficult to turn around from a first round domination, Cejudo tried to use his loss to Johnson as motivation for himself and his team. The former Olympian then asked the team what was their method of victory for the end-game boss of their division. Every one had a good strategy mapped out, but implementing it is a whole other scenario.
Tonight we'll find out who will be the fighter who inserts their coin and gives it their best shot at beating Demetrious Johnson on Saturday as dual-weight Shooto champion #HiroOgikubo fights former UFC fighter #TimElliott.