First rumoured a week ago, it’s now official: Justin Gaethje and former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez will fight later this year and will first coach opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter 26.
The show, which starts August 30 on FS1, will debut a UFC women’s flyweight division and is expected to culminate in a December finale.
For Gaethje, 18-0, a coaching role on TUF 26 offers him the chance to build on the momentum and attention he gained following a stunning UFC debut victory over Michael Johnson earlier this month. That night, at The Ultimate Fighter 25 finale, Gaethje, a former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion, lived up to the hype and then some, stopping Johnson in the second round of a nailed-on ‘Fight of the Year’ contender. In doing so, he confirmed his reputation as one of the most exciting, all-action fighters on the planet and also added many more fans to his bandwagon.
Alvarez, meanwhile, is a man similarly violent and entertaining, but is someone looking to kickstart momentum as opposed to continue it. Though a former UFC champion, Alvarez, 28-5 (1 NC), has struggled for form of late, losing his belt to Conor McGregor in a one-sided drubbing last November, and then watching a potential war with Dustin Poirier end in a frustrating no-contest following an illegal knee. He will look to use a fight with Gaethje to not only cement his spot as the world’s most exciting fighter, but to also once again make a charge towards a title shot.