Last night the UFC announced Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz would head teams on the Ultimate Fighter 15 with the series’ run on FX scheduled to debut on March 9, a Friday for those keeping score at home. While I’m sincerely stoked about the show’s new format involving a live fight every week with episodes using footage from the previous six days I couldn’t be much more disappointed about the organization’s choice to feature Faber/Cruz.
For starters, each has only fought a single time since facing off at UFC 132 in what was a five round affair that never saw either man put the other in any real trouble. It was fairly competitive but not staggeringly special. Beyond that, the judges’ nod to Cruz wasn’t controversial unless you ask someone affiliated with Team Alpha Male. There was no need to make the match-up again so quickly without any real score to settle stemming from July’s encounter.
Moving on, though Faber has a great presence on camera, Cruz’s personality is as boring as his style is exciting. He’s a bit wooden, possessing an admirable drive to let his abilities do the talking rather than show off in front of a microphone, and while that’s a great quality when it comes to creating a high-level Mixed Martial Artist it isn’t likely to translate well onto television. Part of what made TUF 14 so successful was the combined antics of Michael Bisping and Jason Miller – both coached their teams up but also had a good time. I simply don’t see that happening with Cruz.
The only thing potentially driving the selection of Cruz/Faber as being necessary is their personal rivalry but I’m not even confident that department will deliver in full. They may not like each other but they’re both consummate professionals. I doubt we’ll see any pushing, shoving, or even significant name-calling to heighten the drama. If I’m proven wrong in the end rest assured I’ll be smiling at the pleasant surprise.
Simply put the only reason I will be watching TUF 15 has to do with the contestants. There is nothing significantly interesting about Cruz/Faber fighting a third time so soon or with what they bring to the table as team-heads. I respect their talents and I’m sure they’ll adequately deliver in the ring come showtime. I just don’t want to watch them as key elements of a television show for three months.
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PHOTO CREDIT – UFC