Conor McGregor is back, lending his star power to the long-running reality TV show that might well have saved the UFC.

“The Ultimate Fighter” was an instrumental force during the UFC’s explosion of popularity in the early 2000s, shining a spotlight on fighters such as Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, who coached MMA hopefuls in a season-long competition in which the participants shared a house for several weeks.

Over the course of 30 seasons — all of which can be seen on ESPN+ — the show has produced several UFC champions: Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping, Kamaru Usman, Robert Whittaker, TJ Dillashaw and Rose Namajunas, as well as stars Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson and Diego Sanchez. Each season there also is tension between coaches building up to a big fight of their own. Fans get to see it all play out behind the scenes.

The 31st season of “The Ultimate Fighter” features a coaching matchup between former two-division champion McGregor and onetime lightweight title challenger Michael Chandler, a former Bellator champ. When they fight at the conclusion of the season, it will be McGregor’s first fight since he broke his leg in July 2021.

This season’s TUF competition, which begins airing May 30 on ESPN and ESPN+, is at lightweight and bantamweight.

How to watch ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ on ESPN+

Watch on ESPN+. Get ESPN+ here.

Watch on ESPN. Download the ESPN App | WatchESPN | TV schedule

Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access.

The coaches

Conor McGregor

Record: 22-6
Age: 34
From: Dublin

  • First fighter in UFC history to reign in two weight classes (featherweight, lightweight) simultaneously

  • Notable victories over Jose Aldo, Dustin Poirier, Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez and Nate Diaz

  • Ranked as the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2021, earning a reported $180 million

  • Previously coached Season 22 of TUF in 2015, opposite Urijah Faber.

Michael Chandler

Record: 23-8
Age: 36
From: Deerfield Beach, Florida

  • Competed for the vacant UFC lightweight championship in 2021, losing to Charles Oliveira by second-round TKO

  • Was a three-time Bellator lightweight champion

  • Notable wins over Tony Ferguson, Eddie Alvarez, Benson Henderson and Dan Hooker

  • Was a NCAA Division I All-America wrestler his senior year at Missouri, and qualified for the NCAA tournament all four years of college.

The fighters


Lee Hammond
Record: 5-0
UFC record: N/A
Age: 26
Fighting out of: Dublin
• Last fought with Eire Fighting Championship
• One Bellator win over Jamie Hay in 2022
• Trains at SBG Ireland, the same gym as McGregor

Kurt Holobaugh
Record: 19-7
UFC record: 0-4
Age: 36
Fighting out of: Denham Springs, Louisiana
• Last fought with Xtreme Fighting Championships
• Made first UFC appearance in 2013 against Steven Siler
• Fought on “Dana White’s Contender Series” in 2017
• Second stint in UFC from 2018 to 2019, fought Raoni Barcelos, Shane Burgos and Thiago Moises.

Austin Hubbard
Record: 15-6
UFC record: 3-4
Age: 31
Fighting out of: Denver
• Last fought with Caged Aggression
• Fought in UFC from 2019 to 2021; wins over Dakota Bush, Kyle Prepolec and Max Rohskopf and losses to Davi Ramos, Mark O. Madsen, and Joe Solecki
• Trains at Elevation Fight Team with UFC fighters Drew Dober and Neil Magny

Nate Jennerman
Record: 16-5
UFC record: N/A
Age: 30
Fighting out of: Sheboygan, Wisconsin
• Last fought with PFL, where he won against Jake Childers
• Fought UFC featherweight Damon Jackson in LFA in 2018, losing by KO
• 12 wins by submission

Jason Knight
Record: 23-7
UFC record: 4-5
Age: 30
Fighting out of: D’Iberville, Mississippi
• Last fought with Gulf Coast MMA
• Competed on “The Ultimate Fighter,” Season 22
• Fought in PFL Playoffs at featherweight in 2021; lost to Bobby Moffett by unanimous decision
• UFC wins over Dan Hooker, Alex Caceres and Chas Skelly
• Win over Thiago Moises in Atlas Fighting in 2015
• Fought on Jorge Masvidal‘s Gamebred Fighting Championship

Aaron McKenzie
Record: 11-2-1
UFC record: N/A
Age: 34
Fighting out of: Oklahoma City
• Former LFA lightweight champion
• Beat former UFC fighter Joe Giannetti in 2020
• Fought in Bellator from 2019 to 2020; went 1-1
• Trains under former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Lovato Jr.

Landon Quinones
Record: 7-1-1
UFC record: N/A
Age: 27
Fighting out of: Sunrise, Florida
• Former Titan FC lightweight champion
• Fought in Bellator in 2017
• Trains under Henri Hooft at Kill Cliff FC

Roosevelt Roberts
Record: 12-3, 1 NC
UFC record: 3-3, 1 NC
Age: 28
Fighting out of: Lathrop, California
• Last fought in Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s Eagle FC
• First earned UFC contract on “Dana White’s Contender Series” in 2018
• Fought in UFC from 2018 to 2021; lost to Jim Miller and and Ignacio Bahamondes
• Fought in Bellator in 2018


Hunter Azure
Record: 10-3
UFC record: 2-2
Age: 30
Fighting out of: Phoenix
• Last fight was with Fusion Fight League
• Earned a UFC contract in 2019 on “Dana White’s Contender Series”
• UFC losses to Jack Shore and Brian Kelleher
• Trains under Eddie Cha at Fight Ready MMA.

Rico DiSciullo
Record: 11-2
UFC record: N/A
Age: 36
Fighting out of: Somerville, Massachusetts
• Last fight was with Combat FC
• Contestant on “Dana White’s Contender Series” Season 2
• Was scheduled to face Da’Mon Blackshear in 2019

Cody Gibson
Record: 19-8
UFC record: 1-3
Age: 35
Fighting out of: Visalia, California
• Fought in the UFC from 2014 to 2015
• Losses to UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and Douglas Silva de Andrade
• Fought on Eagle FC in 2022; Lost to UFC veteran Ray Borg by unanimous decision

Mando Gutierrez
Record: 8-2
UFC record: N/A
Age: 25
Fighting out of: East Lansing, Michigan
• Last fight was with Warrior Xtreme Combat
• Total Warrior Combat amateur bantamweight champion
• Competed on Season 6 of “Dana White’s Contender Series,” lost to Raul Rosas Jr. by unanimous decision

Brad Katona
Record: 12-2
UFC record: 2-2
Age: 31
Fighting out of: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
• Former Brave CF bantamweight champion
• Winner of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Season 27
• Lost to Azure at UFC 158 in 2019
• Lost to Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 151
• Trains at SBG Ireland; the same gym as McGregor

Timur Valiev
Record: 18-3
UFC record: 2-1, 1 NC
Age: 33
Fighting out of: Dagestan, Russia
• Lost to Shore at UFC Fight Night in March 2022
• UFC win over Barcelos
• Competed in the first PFL season in 2017
• Fought in World Series of Fighting from 2014 to 2016
• Went 1-1 against UFC fighter Chris Gutierrez in WSOF

Carlos Vera
Record: 12-3
UFC record: N/A
Age: 35
Fighting out of: New Orleans
• Last fight was with Fury FC
• Riding a four-fight win streak

Trevor Wells
Record: 8-3
UFC record: N/A
Age: 27
Fighting out of: Murrieta, California
• Last fight was with Urijah Faber‘s A1 Combat
• Riding a three-fight winning streak