Michael Chandler rolls into The Ultimate Fighter 31 with four coaches, here's who they are.
Michael Chandler has made a splash within the UFC since his arrival. Now, he gets the opportunity to coach The Ultimate Fighter against none other than Conor McGregor. Chandler has asked for the McGregor matchup for quite some time, and now he gets to go head-to-head with him in more ways than one.
While McGregor enters TUF with two other coaches, Chandler chose to go with four. He didn't pick just anyone, either. Here is a look at the four other coaches who will be working with Chandler and his team of fighters for TUF 31.
1. Bellator champion Ryan Bader
Between both coaching staffs, Ryan Bader is probably the biggest household name. After compiling a 7-0 record on the regional scene, Bader participated in TUF 8 and won the light heavyweight tournament after knocking out Vinny Magalhaes. After going 5-0 in the UFC, Bader fought Jon Jones. He lost the fight via submission, resulting in his first professional loss.
After an impressive UFC career, Bader joined the Bellator ranks in 2017 and never looked back. After winning the Bellator light heavyweight title, he earned double-champ status after winning the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, beating Fedor Emilianenko for the title.
Bader brings a wealth of experience, a strong wrestling background, and a winning culture to team Chandler. In terms of competition, there are only a few fighters who can compete with Bader's resume.
2. Robert Drysdale
There aren't many BJJ athletes who have the same credentials as Robert Drysdale. He was a BJJ-based MMA fighter who compiled a 7-0 record before retiring in 2019. His last MMA fight was for the Legacy FC light heavyweight title against Ryan Spann. He beat Spann via rear-naked choke.
Prior to that, Drysdale had one UFC fight in 2013. Despite winning the fight, it was overturned due to elevated levels of testosterone. This was his second failed test and third scheduled UFC fight, leading to being cut by the UFC.
Even with the rocky professional career, Drysdale's respect as a coach remains in tact. He has not only coached some of the biggest names in the sport, but this will be his fifth season as a coach on TUF, appearing in TUF 8, TUF 18, TUF 23, and TUF 24.
With multiple first place wins at IBJJF and and one at ADCC, Drysdale's credentials have allowed him to become a top tier BJJ coach in MMA.
3. Jason Strout
A Roufusport original, Jason Strout brings a wealth of striking knowledge after developing his reputation as a striking coach in New York. His abilities have allowed him to not only coach in MMA but every major striking discipline in combat sports.
After taking a stab as an announcer in Asia, Strout returned to North America in 2020 to become one of the main coaches at Kill Cliff Fight Club, Chandler's main training facility in Florida. It's easy to see why Chandler would select him as one of his assistant coaches for TUF 31.
4. Greg Jones
If you follow MMA extensively, it would be hard to avoid the name Greg Jones. Before joining the ranks at Kill Cliff Fight Club with Strout and Chandler, Jones made his name in NCAA wrestling at the University of West Virginia.
Jones was the 2002 174-pound national champion, and won two national championships at 184 pounds in 2004 and 2005. What's more impressive than than, well, almost, is his 2-0 amateur MMA record in 2022. Whether he plans to go pro at 40 years old remains to be seen, but getting two wins at this point of his combat sports career is quite impressive.
Jones will join Team Chandler as their wrestling coach, making this one of the most well-rounded teams in TUF history. Without question, Chandler is bringing his best possible team in hopes of outcoaching McGregor on TUF before beating him in the cage later this year.