Top 15 Worst Coaches on The Ultimate Fighter

For almost a decade now, The Ultimate Fighter has been an outlet that has introduced TV viewers to MMA and the rising stars within it. Dana White even has stated how the show helped keep the promotion afloat, stating that the first season finale match between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar was invaluable and “if it weren't for what these guys did, I don't know if there would even be a UFC.” The show has also helped establish feuds between current UFC fighters who coach each season, most notably the feuds between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans, and Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. Yet like with any fight or competition, there are winners and losers, and while some fighters have excelled as coaches on the show, others have failed miserably. This list is designed to look at those who flopped while wearing the coach’s jersey, according to the overall results of the season.

Note: As the season is still ongoing, Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez were not considered for this list.

Coaches were ranked according to the following guidelines:

Coaches with tournament winners will be ranked above those without winners. This is the most important ranking as this is the overall goal for each season. Coaches who have done multiple seasons do receive a bump up in the ratings because of this, but it is equaled out by the fact of the difficulty involved with coaching a single fighter to winning the tournament, let alone multiple tournaments. This also has the equal negative effect for coaches who worked multiple seasons and never won.

If there is a tie between coaches, then the coach who has won the most coaches’ fights at the end of the season is ranked higher. If a fighter was a replacement for an absent or injured coach, the win/loss goes for the person who actually fought. Coaches who did not fight at the end of the season will be ranked lower than a coach with a losing record.

If there is still a tie, then the coach with more wins in the first round of the tournament will be ranked higher. For example, Rashad Evans’s team had a first round record of 7-1 which would be ranked higher than Brock Lesnar’s record of 4–4. If there is still a tie, then both coaches will be listed as a tie.

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15 Jon Jones (TUF Season 17)

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

 Tournament Winner: 0 – 1

Coach Fight Record: 1 – 0 (beat Chael Sonnen at UFC 159)

First Round Record: 4 - 4

In the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter, Lightheavyweight Champion Jon Jones squared off against contender Chael Sonnen as they coached Middleweights. Both men would go back and forth with verbal jabs and pranks, but Team Sonnen would eventually get the better of Team Jones by completely shutting them out of the finals. Jones would eventually get his revenge against Sonnen though by defeating him in the first round of their title fight by TKO. 

14 Junior Dos Santos (TUF Season 13)

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 1

Coach Fight Record: 1 – 0 (beat Shane Carwin at UFC 131, Carwin replaced an injured Brock Lesnar)

First Round Record: 4 - 4

In the thirteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter Junior Dos Santos faced off against former Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar as they trained Welterweight fighters. After a couple issues with his coaching staff, Dos Santos would see one of his fighters, Ramsey Nijem face off against Team Lesnar’s Tony Ferguson in the finals, though Nijem would be knocked out in the first round, giving Team Lesnar the win. Dos Santos would then win the coaches’ fight against Shane Carwin who replaced Lesnar as he was battling diverticulitis and would beat him by unanimous decision to earn a title shot at Cain Velasquez.

13 Matt Serra (TUF Season 6)

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Tournament Winner: 0 – 1

Coach Fight Record: 0 – 1 (lost to Matt Hughes at UFC 98)

First Round Record: 6 – 2

Coming into the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter, the coaches fight was originally designated to be a Welterweight Title fight between newly crowned champion Matt Serra and former champion Matt Hughes. Unfortunately, various injuries would delay the fight and Serra would end up losing the title back to Georges St. Pierre, thus making the fight between Serra and Hughes a non-title affair. For the Welterweight tournament that season, Serra found huge success in the first round which saw his team go 6-2. Unfortunately, the two members of Team Hughes that remained would both make it to the finals and completely shut down Team Serra, with Mac Danzig winning the whole thing.

12 Shane Carwin (TUF Season 16)

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Tournament Winner: 0 – 1

Coach Fight Record: 0 – 1* (lost to Junior Dos Santos at UFC 131, *injured in the lead up to his fight against coach Roy Nelson, replaced by Matt Mitrione)

First Round Record: 4 – 4

In what may be the most boring season of The Ultimate Fighter, Shane Carwin faced off against Roy Nelson coaching Welterweights. Carwin seemed to be more interested in coaching his picks while Nelson seemed lethargic in his training, much to the chagrin of his picks. Ultimately though, Team Nelson member Colton Smith would beat Team Carwin member Mike Ricci by decision. Carwin would only face off in a coaches’ fight as a replacement for Brock Lesnar against Junior Dos Santos, but would have to bow out of his own coaches fight due to injury, ultimately being replaced by Matt Mitrione.

11 Josh Koscheck (TUF Season 12)

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 1

Coach Fight Record: 0 – 1 (lost to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 124)

First Round Record: 3 – 5

Considered by many to be the most irritating coach in TUF history, Josh Koscheck cranked the aggravation level up to 10 in his season against Georges St. Pierre. From loudly banging on walls when his team got its first win after already losing three matches, getting into Cody McKenzie’s face after he lost, and finally attempting to choke one of Team GSP’s medical assistant Brad Tate, Kos was an all around tool during the season. Unfortunately, if he had put as much effort into coaching his team as he did irritating everyone, he may not have been completely shut out in the finale. He also may have been better prepared for GSP in their Welterweight title fight, but instead he only made the champ furious and more focused on beating Koscheck from bell to bell, winning by unanimous decision and breaking Josh’s orbital bone.

10 Randy Couture (TUF Season 1)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 2

Coach Fight Record: 0 – 1 (lost to Chuck Liddell at UFC 52)

First Round Record: 1 – 5

In the inaugural season of TUF, Chuck Liddell faced off against Lightheavyweight Champion Randy Couture. The series was trying to find its proper pacing at that time, so the show was very much different from following seasons, consisting of more team challenges and fewer elimination fights, resulting in Couture having a 1-5 record for first round fights. In fact, Team Couture would have had only one fighter in the finale if Kenny Florian had not been sent over from Team Liddell because of a team reshuffle. Team Liddell would win both tournaments with Diego Sanchez and Forrest Griffin winning their respective fights and Couture would lose the coaches fight, along with his title, at UFC 52.

9 Dominick Cruz (TUF: Live)

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 1

Coach Fight Record: NA (pulled out of fight due to injury)

First Round Record: 4 – 4

In TUF’s only live season, bitter rivals Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz faced off coaching Lightweight fighters, with the coaches’ fight at the end of the season being contested for the Bantamweight Championship. While they would go 4-4 in the opening round fights, Team Faber would shut out Team Cruz with Michael Chiesa and Al Iaquinta making it to the finals. Cruz would then pull out of the fight due to injury and was replaced by Renan Barao who beat Faber and became the Interim Bantamweight Champion and eventually the undisputed champion after Cruz was stripped of the belt due to inactivity. 

8 Frank Mir (TUF Season 8)

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 2

Coach Fight Record: 1 – 0 (beat Big Nog at UFC 92)

First Round Record: 5 – 3

In the eighth season of TUF, Frank Mir faced off against Minotauro Nogueira, coaching teams made up of Lightheavyweight and Lightweight fighters. Team Mir would earn a respectable first round record of 5-3 against Team Nogueira, but would falter in later rounds as all three Nogueira teammates would make it to the finals while Vinny Magalhaes would be the only Team Mir member to make it to the finals in ultimately a losing effort against Ryan Bader. Mir would bounce back though and become the first person to finish Big Nog when he beat him by TKO at UFC 92 to win the Interim Heavyweight Championship.

7 Dan Henderson (TUF: Team USA vs. Team UK) 

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 2

Coach Fight Record: 1 – 0 (beat Michael Bisping at UFC 100)

First Round Record: 4 – 4

In the USA vs. UK edition of TUF, the former PRIDE Champion faced off against TUF Season 3 winner Michael Bisping, where they coached teams made up of Lightweight and Welterweight fighters. Bisping would continually get on the nerves of Henderson and team USA, but would ultimately win big as Team UK members Ross Pearson and James Wilks would win in the finals. Henderson would eventually get some payback though as he landed what many fans have called the greatest knockout of all time as he clipped Bisping on the chin before diving into the air to land a brutal “H-Bomb” to the chin of Bisping at UFC 100.

6 Ronda Rousey (TUF Season 18)

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 2

Coach Fight Record: 1 – 0 (beat Miesha Tate at UFC 168)

First Round Record: 4 – 4

In the 18th season of TUF, fans saw female coaches for the first time, as well as female fighters in the show’s tournament as Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey faced off against rival Miesha Tate as they coached men and women’s Bantamweight divisions. Both coaches would get four victories in the opening round of the tournaments, but Tate's team would win both tournaments with Chris Holdsworth and Julianna Pena winning in the finals. The coaches fight would take place at UFC 168 with Tate taking Rousey further than any other fighter going into the third round where Rousey eventually won with her signature armbar.

5 Ken Shamrock (TUF Season 3)

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Tournament Winner: 0 – 2

Coach Fight Record: 0 – 1 (lost to Tito Ortiz at UFC 61)

First Round Record: 2 – 6

TUF 3 featured rivals Tito Ortiz taking on Lion’s Den leader Ken Shamrock as they coached Middleweight and Lightheavyweight fighters. Ortiz would constantly get under the skin of Shamrock who appeared to be at a loss for how to handle the brash younger fighter. Team Shamrock would've been shut out of the finals if not for Ed Herman making it to face off against eventual winner Kendall Grove and the Lightheavyweight final being between Team Ortiz members Michael Bisping and Josh Haynes. Shamrock would then face off in a rematch against Ortiz, ultimately losing in the first round by TKO.

4 Kyle Noke (TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia)

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 2

Coach Fight Record: 0 – 1 (lost to Patrick Cote at TUF Nations Finale: Bisping vs. Kennedy)

First Round Record: 3 – 5

The fifth international season of TUF featured teams made up of Middleweight and Welterweight Canadian and Australian fighters that were coached by Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke, respectively. Team Canada would find its rhythm often, going 5-3 in the first round and worse, Team Australia would be shut out of the finals. Cote and Noke would face each other at TUF Nations Finale: Bisping vs. Kennedy where Cote would end up beating Noke by unanimous decision and capping off a dominant TUF season for the Canadian.

3 Rampage Jackson (TUF Season 7 and 10)

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 2

Coach Fight Record: 0 – 2 (lost to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 and lost to Rashad Evans at UFC 114)

First Round Record: 3 – 13

If we were doing a power ranking of TUF coaches, Rampage Jackson would easily take the spot as the worst coach ever with his lackadaisical coaching style and overall disinterest in coaching his fighters. It is not a surprise that his record over two seasons is a paltry 3-13. It was so bad during the 10th season of the show that it seemed he would become the first coach to ever get swept in the first round of the tournament, until Team Rampage fighter Marcus Jones won his opening fight. Rampage was technically shut out of both tournaments that he coached, but in season seven, Jesse Taylor of Team Griffin was removed from the finals after getting caught on camera drunkenly destroying property at a casino, leading to C.B. Dollaway beating Tim Credeur in an elimination match for the spot.  Rampage would also lose both coaches fights, first losing the Lightheavyweight Title to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 and then losing to Rashad Evans at UFC 114, also by unanimous decision.

2 Fabricio Werdum (TUF: Brazil 2 and Latin America)

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 3

Coach Fight Record: 2 –  0 (beat Big Nog at UFC on Fuel TV: Noguiera vs. Werdum and beat Mark Hunt at UFC 180 after Cain Velasquez dropped out due to injury)

First Round Record: 6 – 10

Similar to Rampage Jackson’s run as a coach on TUF, Fabricio Werdum has had his own problems in regard to getting his fighters to the finals. In two seasons and three tournaments, Werdum only had one of his fighters, Leonardo Morales of TUF: Latin America, make it to the finals. While Werdum would go on to lose all three of the tournaments that he coached in, he has had great success in the coaches fights at the end of the seasons. First, he would go on to beat Minotauro Nogueira by submission at UFC on Fuel TV: Noguiera vs. Werdum and then just recently he beat replacement fighter Mark Hunt by TKO to win the Interim Heavyweight Championship after opposing coach Cain Velasquez pulled out of the fight because of an injury.

1 B.J. Penn (TUF Season 5 and 19)

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Tournament Winner: 0 – 3

Coach Fight Record: 1 – 1 (beat Jens Pulver at TUF 5 Finale and lost to Frankie Edgar at TUF 19 Finale)

First Round Record: 6 – 10

As far as hard results go, there is no worse coach on The Ultimate Fighter than B.J. Penn. Between two seasons and three tournaments, Penn has had a total of zero fighters make it to the finals. This was especially embarrassing in TUF 5 when Penn had five fighters make it past the first round, but none of them would make it to the finals. Penn would get revenge against Jens Pulver, beating him in the coaches fight at the season finale, which was a rematch of their previous fight at UFC 35 which Pulver had won. Penn would then suffer a devastating loss to Frankie Edgar, losing by TKO in the third round and effectively causing Penn to declare he was retiring once again.


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