Who is TUF 30 fighter Zac Pauga?

Zac Pauga (Photo by Amy Kaplan/FanSided)
Zac Pauga (Photo by Amy Kaplan/FanSided) /

The Ultimate Fighter is back for season 30 with Zac Pauga.

The Ultimate Fighter will return for its 30 seasons, debuting on ESPN+ on May 3, and will feature the coaching talents of Amanda Nunes and Juliana Pena. The two women will coach a group of up-and-coming fighters which will include some of the more intriguing prospects in the world. One of those is Zac Pauga, who just five months ago, was a detective.

Pauga is from Denver, CO, and fights out of Elevation Fight Team. While Pauga is going to try and make a name for himself in MMA, it was football that he originally had aspirations of going pro in, and even attended Colorado State where he played all four years at tight end, before trying to catch on with the Houston Texans as a running back.

After he couldn’t catch on with the Texans, Pauga changed his focus to professional rugby, where he played that for “five or six years”. Due to the lack of pay as a rugby player, Pauga ended up leaving the sport and becoming a police officer.

A chance encounter would change Zac Pauga’s career

After becoming a police officer, Pauga started training in jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. It was when he was training in martial arts for fun that Elevation Fight Team saw him and recruited him to join their team, where he started sparring with Elevation Fight Team members Curtis Blaydes and Alistair Overeem.

Despite getting roughed up regularly in those sessions, Pauga felt like continuing on with his training and even began taking fights. He amassed a 5-0 record at light-heavyweight and the decision was made for him to take a run at season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter, which would feature male heavyweights competing for a spot in the UFC.

Pauga thought he’d get signed eventually but didn’t want to take too many more regional fights and saw the Ultimate Fighter as his chance to accelerate his career a bit. Acceleration and speed is kind of his game, after all. Both in his career and in the ring.

“For my fighting style, you’re going to see high-pace. The big thing that I bring from my past careers is athleticism and fitness. I’m going to drown them out there.”

Pauga wants people to know, however, that he’s not looking to start any problems in the house. He’s also not looking at being stuck in the house as some past fighters have, instead of wanting to take the time to expand his game.

“Some people may see it as a prison, I’m trying to view it as a temple.”

Next. The Ultimate Fighter Season 30 begins May 3 on ESPN+. dark

The Ultimate Fighter’s 30 season starts May 3 and will air on ESPN+.