UFC working on adding a women's strawweight division

 

UFC president Dana White appeared recently on the FoxSports.com podcast “The Fighter and the Kid." The show, just six weeks old, is hosted by UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub and comedian  Bryan Callen.

On the show White revealed the future of little women's MMA.

"I’ll give you guys something nobody knows yet," said White as transcribed by MMASucka. "We’re actually working on bringing in another division for the women, which I said would never happen for a long time."

The UFC currently has a women's bantamweight (135 lbs) division. White was asked if the new division would be Featherweight (145, hello Cris Cyborg) or flyweight (125).

White's reply was unexpected.

"Neither," said White, adding "115 lbs."

The move follows an unintended test each week of the drawing power of WMMA vs. the drawing power of men's MMA. Women win - the episodes featuring women’s fights on TUF 18 earn 44% higher ratings on FOX Sports 1 than do episodes with men fighting.. Rousey and bitter rival Miesha Tate are this season’s coaches.

“I never in a million years thought that it would take off the way that it has,” said White, who just two years ago replied "never" when asked when women would fight in the UFC. Of course, that was before White met Ronda Rousey, and crafted the division around her. Rousey is the coach, opposite Miesha Tate, on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Top strawweight women fighters include Jessica Aguilar, JoJo Calderwood, Carla Esparza, Ayaka Hamasaki, Felice Herrig, Bec Hyatt, and Rose Namajunas. Further, the UFC is likely consider top fighters at 105 and 125 who are willing to move up and down, respectively.

Although the majority of the world's top women fighters are contracted with Invicta FC, Invicta and the UFC have an excellent working relationship of long standing, and there is every expectation that the organizations would come to terms.

BloodyElbow's Step Daniels reached out to Invicta FC CEO Shannon Knapp, and Knapp saw nothing but positives.

"I think it's great," said Knapp. "I've always said that my goal was to build these divisions out to bring awareness to the female athletes in the sport by giving them a home and opportunities. I believe the UFC bringing in more weight divisions is proof that we are breaking down the barriers and moving the sport forward for the females. I saw it and believed in it from the start, and I'm happy that Invicta has been instrumental in changing the landscape for the female athletes. It's always been my personal and professional goal to make a difference in this sport, and I believe that each and every day, I'm accomplishing that."

"I think it's a testament to how well Invicta is doing, and I couldn't be more proud of what we've managed to accomplish for the women in the sport. We've just begun our work, and we want to keep making a difference. There's going to be a demand for more talent. I plan to give them a home where new strawweight competitors can be built up. This doesn't mean the end of anything. Honestly, this is just the beginning."

"There's still plenty of work to be done in all of the women's divisions. I'm looking at this as a personal and professional victory, and it is of tremendous benefit to the athletes. When the biggest organization out there is taking a look at what you've done, and they embrace it, then you know you've succeeded."

What do you think UG? Expect to see Felice Herrig get a UFC contract. Who else do you think the UFC will sign?

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tags: UFC   Dana White   Felice Herrig   



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Recent Comments »

Tomato Can site profile image  

11/16/13 7:56 PM by Tomato Can

"If you mean her recent fight against Jessica Aguilar, I haven't seen that fight and heard it was really bad, yeah. Didn't know she came off as really unskilled or whatever. Anyway I'm probably not going to do another version anytime soon."Yea it was on a Bellator card. Might have been the Herrig or Aguilar fight, I can't remember which. She looked absolutely woeful at all aspects of MMA. I'm not even joking when I say that fight turned me off of WMMA a bit. I thought to myself "if this woman has a winning record and is considered one of the 15-20 best in her weight class, the state of WMMA is a disaster".

Tomato Can site profile image  

11/16/13 7:56 PM by Tomato Can

"If you mean her recent fight against Jessica Aguilar, I haven't seen that fight and heard it was really bad, yeah. Didn't know she came off as really unskilled or whatever. Anyway I'm probably not going to do another version anytime soon."Yea it was on a Bellator card. Might have been the Herrig or Aguilar fight, I can't remember which. She looked absolutely woeful at all aspects of MMA. I'm not even joking when I say that fight turned me off of WMMA a bit. I thought to myself "if this woman has a winning record and is considered one of the 15-20 best in her weight class, the state of WMMA is a disaster".

ajsr site profile image  

11/16/13 3:55 PM by ajsr

Joanne Calderwood in the UFC would make me happy.

ajsr site profile image  

11/16/13 3:55 PM by ajsr

Joanne Calderwood in the UFC would make me happy.

Chromium site profile image  

11/16/13 3:50 PM by Chromium

They need to figure shit out with Invicta, so yeah, 6-10 months in my opinion. This also gives Jessica Aguilar some time to start filling out her WSOF contract.

Chromium site profile image  

11/16/13 3:50 PM by Chromium

They need to figure shit out with Invicta, so yeah, 6-10 months in my opinion. This also gives Jessica Aguilar some time to start filling out her WSOF contract.

Chromium site profile image  

11/16/13 3:41 PM by Chromium

I'm really not high on the idea of natural 125ers moving further down in weight. If they're already cutting a fair amount to make 125 then they are almost certainly too large for Strawweight. It's horrible for their endocrine system and there's a good reason Zoila Frausto never returned to that weight. The very top Flyweights tend to do better at Bantamweight anyway (Cat Zingano and Jessica Eye were both Flyweights, and Miesha Tate has stated repeatedly that Flyweight is her natural division). The only prominent Flyweight that I think is probably better suited to Strawweight physically is Aisling Daly. As for Atomweights, when Atomweight as a division has only recently been crystalized as a globally competitive division, stripping it of its upper echelon sounds like a horrible idea. Jessica Penne is a star at that weight, and Seo Hee Ham probably will be. Michelle Waterson is World Champion at that weight. All three would probably be competitive at Strawweight but none would be Top 10. I suspect plenty will try and move up anyway to try and get into the UFC but I don't see it working out terribly well.

Chromium site profile image  

11/16/13 3:41 PM by Chromium

I'm really not high on the idea of natural 125ers moving further down in weight. If they're already cutting a fair amount to make 125 then they are almost certainly too large for Strawweight. It's horrible for their endocrine system and there's a good reason Zoila Frausto never returned to that weight. The very top Flyweights tend to do better at Bantamweight anyway (Cat Zingano and Jessica Eye were both Flyweights, and Miesha Tate has stated repeatedly that Flyweight is her natural division). The only prominent Flyweight that I think is probably better suited to Strawweight physically is Aisling Daly. As for Atomweights, when Atomweight as a division has only recently been crystalized as a globally competitive division, stripping it of its upper echelon sounds like a horrible idea. Jessica Penne is a star at that weight, and Seo Hee Ham probably will be. Michelle Waterson is World Champion at that weight. All three would probably be competitive at Strawweight but none would be Top 10. I suspect plenty will try and move up anyway to try and get into the UFC but I don't see it working out terribly well.

VitorpeepeetasteStrongTRT site profile image  

11/16/13 3:23 PM by VitorpeepeetasteStrongTRT

I think they should wait a tad bit longer...maybe 6-12 months before they introduce 115. But yea..this was obvious.

VitorpeepeetasteStrongTRT site profile image  

11/16/13 3:23 PM by VitorpeepeetasteStrongTRT

I think they should wait a tad bit longer...maybe 6-12 months before they introduce 115. But yea..this was obvious.



 

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