The Ultimate Fighter: Stratford’s Tom Theocharis battling for UFC contract

Fans of The Ultimate Fighter reality series and mixed martial arts competition will recognize one of the 16 prospects when the next season airs in June.

Fans of The Ultimate Fighter reality series and mixed martial arts competition will recognize one of the 16 prospects when the next season airs in June.

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Stratford’s Tom Theocharis is the only Canadian fighter training and competing for a six-figure Ultimate Fighting Championship contract.

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“I’m going into my prime but, with that being said, as you get older everyone knows it’s harder to get signed to the UFC,” Theocharis said at a press conference after a first-round knockout win at Unified MMA 55 in January . “I think I’d be perfect for The Ultimate Fighter. I’ve got a great personality – I’m biased – but I’ve got a great fighting style, I’ve got an incredible story and I can portray very well with my words, so I think I’m a very marketable athlete .”

Theocharis improved to 9-5 as a professional after he defeated Robert Dunn in 32 seconds at Rebel nightclub in Toronto. He said afterwards the plan was to be patient and use his boxing skills against Dunn, a grappler, before switching to kicks.

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He didn’t have to wait long.

“I just saw a bunch of openings and, you know me, I can’t wait,” he said.

Theocharis “put on a show” with several supporters making the trip to TO UFC president Dana White was also in attendance, which might have helped Theocharis land a spot on The Ultimate Fighter, which is currently filming in Las Vegas.

“There was so much on the line here with the UFC coming here and so much pressure with friends and family, it felt like my back was against the wall and I needed to live or die,” he said. “That was my mentality.”

Theocharis, 30, has won his last three fights and five of his last six. Eight of those victories have come via first-round knockout, and both of his Unified fights have lasted a total of 47 seconds.

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“My fights are fun to watch and not boring, and that’s the brand I’ve built for myself,” he said. “That’s how my career has been playing out, so it’s perfect.”

Getting a UFC contract has long been one of Theocharis’ goals.

“He’s a nice, like-minded individual,” said Elias Theodorou, Theocharis’ former training partner who fought for five years in the UFC, in 2021. “(We have) similar upbringings and personalities.

“We look to lift up and not drag down anyone else.”

Theodorou died of liver cancer in 2022, just 13 months after Theocharis’ girlfriend died while on vacation in Greece.

“You never know what’s going to happen, so you gotta live your life to the fullest,” Theocharis said in 2021. “You gotta be happy. You gotta do what you love to do. Fighting is something I love to do. Competing is something I love to do.”

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That was evident to MMA media two months ago as Theocharis bantered with them about the fight, his future and his favorite post-fight Greek meal.

“That’s something my sports therapist really goes by is just following the process, and that’s exactly what I’ve done,” he said. “Everything has worked spectacularly. . . and everything was on point from every single second on day one to this moment.”

The Ultimate Fighter will debut June 4 on ESPN. It’s unknown when it will air in Canada, but the last season aired Tuesday nights on TSN.

The 32nd season features 16 professional men’s featherweight and middleweight fighters living together in Las Vegas and follows them as they train and compete against each other. UFC flyweight champion Alexa Grasso is set to coach against former champion and top contender Valentina Shevchenko.

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