Liddell’s “TUF 11” coaches could include Davis, Henson, Hackleman, Shields and Bravo
Five-time light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is quietly assembling a team for his second coaching stint on "The Ultimate Fighter."
Liddell begins filming the 11th season of the long-running series on Jan. 21 alongside rival coach and six-time light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. According to UFC president Dana White, "TUF 11" is expected to feature 16 middleweight hopefuls will compete in the show's traditional tournament format.
MMAjunkie.com (mmajunkie.com) has learned of some preliminary picks for Liddell's coaching staff, who will be part of the show's six-week shoot.
According to multiple sources, Olympic gold medalist and American Top Team striking coach Howard Davis Jr. is under consideration as Liddell's boxing coach. Olympic silver medalist Sammy Henson is under consideration as the team's wrestling coach, and Liddell's longtime kickboxing trainer, John Hackleman, is expected to make a brief appearance.
For jiu-jitsu, Liddell is considering two coaches: Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields and rubber-guard guru Eddie Bravo.
Liddell (21-7 MMA, 17-6 UFC), 40, recently enlisted Shields for help on his own ground game, while Bravo has a longstanding relationship as his grappling advisor. Liddell was recently spotted at Bravo's school in Burbank, Calif.
Liddell was a coach on the inaugural season of the reality show opposite Randy Couture and coached Forrest Griffin and Diego Sanchez to show championships.
As is customary, Liddell and Ortiz are expected to fight at the conclusion of the series, which debuts March 31 on Spike TV. According to Geoff Rohoman of News1130 Radio, Liddell vs. Ortiz III could take place on June 12. As MMAjunkie.com reported on Wednesday, the UFC is expected to host UFC 115 at Vancouver's GM Place on that date.
Liddell has not fought since UFC 97, when he was stopped by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua; White publicly retired the fighter shortly afterward. The UFC president later softened his stance on Liddell's future and green-lighted another fight, though he admitted as recently as this past weekend that he was still trying to talk the former champion out of fighting.
Meanwhile, Ortiz returned to the octagon in November after an 18-month absence and lost a rematch to Griffin by unanimous decision, a call he disputes to this day.
For more on "The Ultimate Fighter 11" and UFC 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com
It seems as if Liddell will have a pretty solid coaching staff. If Jake Shields is the BJJ coach, will this mean that Shields will be out of action during the filming process as well?