Chris Leben said what we were all thinking when he shared a photo of the TUF 1 Cast Reunion recently — how time flies.
It’s been over a decade now since the Ultimate Fighter 1 aired on Spike TV, ostensibly saving the UFC from oblivion. Since that time, one by one, the cast of that first season has headed on down the dusty trail to retirement: Kenny Florian, Stephan Bonnar, Forrest Griffin, Josh Koschek, Chris Leben (from MMA anyway), to name a few. In fact, only Diego Sanchez continues to compete in the UFC, and for how much longer remains to be seen.
A new photo shared by Leben of the TUF 1 cast reunion, however, will give you a good look at how much time has passed since the show aired in early 2005. The original cast photo comes first, for comparison.
The original Ultimate Fighter aired twelve episodes before the finale, which featured the game-changing brawl between Forrest Griffin and Stephen Bonnar. Often forgotten is that Diego Sanchez also fought that night, finishing Kenny Florian. Not to mention a main event of Rich Franklin finishing Ken Shamrock.
Griffin and Bonnar, of course, were installed in the UFC Hall of Fame for their bout at the TUF 1 Finale, which was held April 9, 2005. Interestingly, coaches Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell, who would both leave the promotion (Liddell recently came out of retirement for a fight with Tito Ortiz under Oscar De La Hoya’s upstart MMA promotion), managed to make it back for the reunion. Couture, especially, was seen as on the outs with the UFC of late.
Josh Koscheck did not appear to make it back for the reunion, which is expected to be the focus of a documentary to coincide with the UFC’s upcoming 25th anniversary. Leben, meanwhile, recently announced a return to fighting: not in MMA, but in bareknuckle boxing.