The Ultimate Fighter Season 29 Cast Breakdown: The Middleweights

Kemran Lachinov Bellator MMA
Kemran Lachinov Credit: Mike McClory/Cageside Press

The last time we saw The Ultimate Fighter was in 2018 – almost three years ago. The coaches were Kelvin Gastelum and Robert Whittaker. The season saw eight heavyweights and eight women’s featherweights competing for a UFC contract. At the end of the season, we saw Juan Espino and Macy Chiasson crowned the Ultimate Fighter.

Then, a long hiatus. It looked for a time as if the show was gone for good. Now, however, The Ultimate Fighter is back for season 29 and it’s set to air on ESPN+ on June 1, 2021. The season will see eight bantamweights and eight middleweights competing to be crowned the Ultimate Fighter. To lead the fighters along the way will be featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Brian Ortega.

With sixteen total fighters competing, many of whom will be new to fans, we’ll be breaking down each fighter among the cast. Last time, we took a look at the bantamweights. This time, we’ll do the same for the middleweights of TUF 29.

Aaron Phillips, 30-years-old, 5-2


  • Heavy ground and pound/smashing elbows
  • Good straight punches
  • Good top position
  • Decent wrestling
  • Damaging leg kicks
  • Dangerous RNC
  • Holds his own on the mat


  • Slows as the fight goes/done in the third
  • Bring his hands back to his head slow/easy to counter
  • Won’t check leg kicks
  • Striking defense lacks

Phillips is an Alaska FC guy and someone that could turn out like Uros Medic — or not, like the majority of those fighters. I do think Phillips is a decent fighter and brings it every time but I don’t see him as a high-level talent. He’s beaten awful competition and once he’s fought someone as a step-up he’s failed to succeed. He has held his own but is just steps behind. Despite what Phillips does well offensively, he fails to put it all together and his flaws outweigh his qualities at this point.