Back in 2015 I took a look over the women’s bantamweight division, talking about how the UFC was neglecting the long term health of the division in favor of making a conveyor belt for Ronda Rousey’s title challengers. And we know how that turned out.
Just over two years later: Tate is retired, Rousey is in the WWE talking about never coming back, and Holly Holm is teetering. And now the UFC has with a champion (Amanda Nunes) they are openly unhappy with, whose contenders list is running short. Their reluctance to even attempt to build a featherweight division drives talent at 135lbs up a weight class to get fed to Cris Cyborg, derailing any momentum or potential buzz they might have created for themselves competing at 135lbs.
There are currently 23 fighters in the Women’s bantamweight division according to Wiki (I’m including Tonya Evinger and Yana Kunitskaya who are listed at 145lbs). But then there’s Amanda Lemos was suspended by USADA after her debut, who’s probably going to be a flyweight if/when she returns. She’s gone for 2 years. GDR, Correia, and Evinger are all hurt with no clear indication of return. Pena is on maternity leave. Evans-Smith is moving to flyweight – don’t see that being permanent. All of a sudden, the division has about 17-18 active fighters. But active is a word I use very loosely – of the 18 active fighters, 11 WBW have 4 or fewer fights in the UFC.
And until the UFC and major MMA gyms start going to the international women’s wrestling/judo/TKD competition and the WCWA championships and sign every woman who comes off the mat looking sad, we’re going to have to do some digging to find talent.
So in honor of Women’s History Month – here are 21 women the UFC should consider signing to jump start this division. Read after the jump
Bringing this back in honor of Amanda Nunes stomping Cyborg to become undisputed WMMA GOAT. Time to start building talent around her.
Some have been signed, others appeared on TUF 28, some have cut to 125lbs, while many are still out there on the regional scene looking for a fight. And since they weren’t in the original post, I’d like to add the following fighters to the list: Melissa Gatto, Zaira Dyshekova, Norma Dumont, Luana Carolina, and Kelly Faszholz.
Reblogging this after ever big wbw fight. Gotta do an update