With the ninth season of Spike TV's widely popular reality show, "The Ultimate Fighter" winding toward its finale this Saturday, fans have already begun speculation surrounding the cast for the shows next season.
Simply called, "Heavyweights", the series tenth installment will feature infamous street-fighting legend Kimbo Slice as he attempts to legitimize himself after suffering a career-debilitating knockout at the hands of former UFC fighter Seth Petrazelli, as well as questions surrounding the legitimacy of his MMA skills. He'll be joined by a talented cast of UFC veterans, several former NFL players, and young up-and-coming prospects.
As the name implies, the cast will be an all-heavyweight affair, save for its two coaches; UFC light-heavyweight superstars Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and "Sugar" Rashad Evans, who will squelch their simmering personal rivalry at seasons end.
The show will break from the recent trend of pitting 32 fighters against one another in order to vie for 16 spots in the house, opting instead to return to the classic 16-fighter format with every fighter guaranteed a bed in the house.
Check out the full list of rumored participants below, according to SunSport:
KIMBO SLICE: The YouTube phenonmenon and former Elite XC headliner will be the main attraction in the new season. UFC president Dana White has continually derided the 35-year-old, claiming "he would get killed in the UFC". It will be interesting to see if the UFC supremo is proved right.
ROY NELSON: Boasting a 13-4 MMA record, the 32-year-old is a former Elie XC fighter who is perhaps best known for being knocked out by Andrei Arlovski last October.
MARCUS JONES: Former NFL defensive end for Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 1996 and 2002. Occasional guest on the popular American radio show Bubba the Love Sponge. Trained in MMA for over two years.
MATT MITRIONE: Another ex-NFL player, debuted as a rookie in 2002 for Minnesota Vikings. Very little MMA experience but trains with highly-regarded UFC heavyweight Jake O'Brien.
WES SHIVERS: NFL veteran and a late call-up to replace fellow pro-footballer Rex Richards. Very confident of winning the whole thing. Speaking last year, he bragged: "The only reason I have six fights now is because we have trouble finding opponents. One fight in particular, I had four opponents back out on me in a two-week period of time."
JIM YORK: Nicknamed "Big", York shares one thing in common with Kimbo - he too beat Britain's James Thompson. The 33-year-old New Zealander emerged victorious from their Sengoku 7 clash after KO'ing the Englishman in the opening round of their March clash.
JUSTIN WREN: At 22 years old, The Viking is one of the youngest contestants on the new series. He has a 6-1 MMA record and trains with UFC star Travis Lutter's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team.
MIKE WESSEL: The Ohio native has already fought in the UFC, losing to Antoni Hardonk via TKO at UFC 92 in the second round of their Las Vegas clash. However, it should be noted that Wessel only took that fight on a week's notice, and UFC president Dana White was impressed enough to offer him a four-fight deal and place on season ten of TUF for his effort.
SCOTT JUNK: Another fighter with previous UFC experience. The 30-year-old lost via heel hook in the opening...