Laura Sanko went 4-1 as an atomweight amateur, won her pro debut at Invicta FC 4 in 2013, got pregnant, and then transitioned to a role as a fight analyst. She interviews fighters for Dana White’s Contender Series and is seen regularly on UFC Fight Pass and on ESPN.
During a UFC on ESPN+ 38 media day interview, Sanko argued that the UFC would benefit from adding a women's atomweight (105) division.
“I’m probably gonna get all sorts of flack for saying this," she began accurately. "But I think the UFC has proven that women’s MMA is a very good business to be in. I think the featherweight division is exciting in its own right because you get big punchers, and you get big finishes, and you have Amanda Nunes. I mean, who doesn’t wanna see Amanda Nunes fight no matter what weight it is? But I will say that if you’re looking to tap into markets like China, like the rest of Asia, there are a lot of atomweight women over there, a lot, and there are a lot in the United States, as well.”
“I think that there’s a handful of girls that fight at strawweight that are much better suited to be atomweights. I know Loma Lookboonmee has put on some muscle and obviously doing good things at strawweight, but she’s a natural atomweight. Jessica Penne used to be an atomweight, Michelle Waterson used to be atomweight – I don’t know if Michelle Waterson can make atomweight anymore, because she is stacked and there’s a whole crew of really talented women coming up through Invicta.”
“I actually think it’s a much easier division to keep filled up than featherweight is. There’s just more, I think they’re really exciting fighters, and I need to go back and look at the stats, but last time I looked, there is a surprising number of finishers.”