Undefeated SBG Ireland lightweight Richie Smullen has been confirmed as a cast member of The Ultimate Fighter 27: Undefeated.
It was no secret that Smullen attended the tryouts for the latest season of TUF and a recent social media post from his teammate Conor McGregor suggested that the Wicklow native had been chosen to compete for a UFC contract on the famed reality show.
In a press release on Friday, the UFC made it official, naming Smullen alongside 7 other lightweights, none of whom have ever suffered a defeat, and 8 unbeaten featherweights.
Smullen, who we named one of the top 5 Irish prospects to watch out for in 2018, turned professional back in 2016 and logged three straight wins, two via submission and one via TKO, before he was held to a draw by another of Ireland’ premier prospects, Rhys McKee, at BAMMA 30 last July.
With just four fights on his pro ledger, the 26-year-old Smullen is one of the least experienced fighters among the TUF 27 cast. José Martinez Jr. and Luis Peña also have just four fights worth of experience under their belts, but every other lightweight is at least 6-0, and one, the 25-year-old Allan Zuniga, is 13-0. Smullen did, however, have a lengthy amateur career.
In the featherweight class, only Dulani Perry has as little pro experience as Smullen, Martinez Jr. and Peña.
Also named in the press release was 25-year-old Canadian featherweight prospect Brad Katona, who has spent time training at SBG Ireland in the past. The fact that Katona was listed as being based in “Dublin, Ireland by way of Winnipeg, Canada” suggests that he has recently made the Naas Road gym his permanent base of operations.
Below is the full list of fighters set to compete on TUF 27.
Thailand Clark – 7-0 | 28 | Fort Worth, Texas
Joe Giannetti – 6-0 | 22 | Norwell, Mass.
John Gunther – 6-0 | 32 | Cleveland, Ohio
José Martinez Jr.– 4-0 | 27 | Lorain, Ohio
Luis Peña – 4-0 | 24 | Hillsboro, Miss. by way of Naples, Italy
Richie Smullen – 3-0-1 | 26 | Arklow, Ireland
Mike Trizano – 6-0 | 25 | Ramsey, N.J.
Allan Zuniga – 13-0 | 25 | San Miguel, Costa Rica
Jay Cucciniello – 8-0 | 31 | Malaga, Spain by way of Dublin, Ireland
Tyler Diamond – 9-0 | 26 | Oroville, Calif.
Brad Katona – 6-0 | 25 | Dublin, Ireland by way of Winnipeg, Canada
Bryce Mitchell – 9-0 | 23 | Cabot, Ark.
Suman Mokhtarian – 8-0 | 25 | Sydney, Australia
Dulani Perry – 4-0 | 31 | Houston, Texas
Kyler Phillips – 5-0 | 22 | Surprise, Ariz.
Ricky Steele – 5-0 | 29 | Boise, Ida.
The UFC also confirmed on Friday that heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will serve as coaches for the show. The two will then meet for Miocic’s heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 226 in July.