Details have been scarce since UFC announced that China would host an edition of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’. While Cung Le stated he would be involved in the season somehow, he did not know what his role would be. It was eventually revealed that he would be playing the authority figure, similar to Dana White’s role in the American versions of TUF.
Last Friday, the cast was announced and it seems we finally have our ‘TUF China’ coaches.
Tiequan Zhang and Ao Hailin will be mentoring the lightweights and welterweights as they do battle to see who will earn a UFC contract.
Tiequan Zhang is a mixed martial arts veteran, but has found little success while competing under the UFC banner. He defeated Jason Reinhardt in his debut at UFC 127, but has gone on a three fight losing streak since then. Before making his USA debut in 2010, though, he was riding a fourteen fight winning streak fighting for various promotions around China. Zhang has not fought since November 2012, so it seems they were keeping him on the back burner for an eventual ‘TUF China’ coaching job.
Ao Hailin was a mainstay of Chinese promotion ‘Art of War Fighting Championship’. While fighting for the promotion, Hailin went a perfect 8-0. He remains undefeated, but has not fought since the promotion went defunct in 2009. Ao Hailin has never set foot in a UFC octagon, and details have not been released if the season will culminate in a bout between the coaches.