UFC middleweight Kyle Noke will coach opposite Patrick Cote on the upcoming season of TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia. He’ll lead a team of Australian welterweights on the international version of The Ultimate Fighter.
“I wasn't expecting it. I wanted the job, but I wasn't expecting it. I got the call from the UFC that I got the job and I was excited, excited as anyone, and I'm looking forward to it,” Noke told MMAWeekly.com content partner Knockout Radio.
Noke felt he was in the running if for no other reason than there just isn't a large pool of Australian fighters for the UFC to pull from yet. Still, that didn't exactly lead him to believe he was an automatic choice.
“I had a hunch I might be one of the guys because, coming from Australia, there's not that many of us in the UFC, so their pickings were kind of small. But I was hoping for the job and I thought they might pick me, but I never knew,” he said. “No one ever floated it by me first saying, ‘Hey, you might get it’ or ‘We're thinking about you.’ I just got a phone call saying you got the job.”
Noke (20-6-2) appeared on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz in 2010 as a contestant. Coaching the reality show and representing Australia carries added pressure, but he feels the pressure is more on the fighters than the coaches.
“I think there's a little bit of added pressure with representing your country, but at the end of the day, just for the show still, it's basically the guys that have to perform, not me,” said Noke. “I'm going to go in there and teach them and show them what I can and have a great staff to coach with me, but it's up to these guys to perform on the show. So the pressure is more on those guys.”
The first season of The Ultimate Fighter in Australia, The Smashes, pitted the Aussies against the U.K. and played on the longtime cricket rivalry between the two nations, The Ashes. There’s no real rivalry between Canada and Australia, but Noke doesn't believe that will make any difference.
“There isn't a rivalry between Canada and Australia, but it'll help to get some young Australians in the UFC and I'm sure we'll come up with something,” he said.
Filming has not begun and Noke isn’t sure if it will be filmed in Las Vegas, Canada or in Australia, but is hoping for Australia.
“You know, we haven't been told yet. We're still waiting to find out like everybody else. So I hope it's in Australia because it'll be summertime, beaches, something like that. That would be good to me,” said Noke.
Filming is expected to begin this winter (going by North American seasons), but no specific date has been announced.
“All we've heard is towards the end of the year. There's been nothing specific told to me. I'm still waiting to find out the exact details. I don't mind, I am ready for anytime, anywhere,” he said.
Noke believes having been on the show as a contestant is something that both he and Cote can draw upon to help their fighters assimilate to the rigors of life on the reality show.
“Yeah, absolutely. Knowing how the house works and how the fighters deal with certain points in the show, I think it's going to be an advantage for me. But saying that, Patrick Cote has also been on the show, so he understands it fully as well,” said Noke.
“We can both pass that knowledge on of what we learned and with our experience on the show, we can pass that on to the guys coming in, so I think it works out well for everyone.”