According to a new report, the first international edition of The Ultimate Fighter is close to being finalized in the Philippines. Officials from ABS-CBN — parent company of Balls, the TV sports network that airs UFC programming in the Philippines — informed BloodyElbow that they expect to launch a local edition of the series in 2012. This shouldn’t really come as a shock, considering that rumors of ‘TUF Philippines’ have been circulating since February, and the UFC had just planned a publicity tour of the island nation for current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones following UFC 135.
No details have emerged in regards to possible weight classes or coaches for the series, but one name that must be in the mix is none other than “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” himself, Mark Munoz. Coming off a big win over Demian Maia at UFC 131, Munoz has gone 6-1 since his drop to middleweight, with the lone loss coming to most recent title contender Yushin Okami. Pairing him with the winner of the Belfort-Le scrap could make for an interesting title picture at 185, and with Anderson Silva riding the pine until then, the division is in need of a few high profile fights to fill the void.
With the recent success of OneFC, there is no question of the potential talent that could become a part of this series; the likes of Eduard Folayang and Eric Kelly could present some intriguing match-ups at lightweight and featherweight, respectively, though the likelihood of the UFC doing two straight seasons of lighter weight-classes seems slim. Then again, the last heavyweight season of The Ultimate Fighter didn’t exactly leave us begging for more.