Developing a True UFC Women's Division

Good evening Maniacs,

Recently it was announced that a second WMMA bout was scheduled by the UFC;

Miesha Tate (13-3) vs. Cat Zingano (7-0) would be apart of the TUF 17 Finale.

We know of four fighters confirmed in the UFC's 135lbs women's division.

Ronda Rousey (6-0) (Champion)
Liz Carmouche (8-2)
Miesha Tate (13-3)
Cat Zingano (7-0)

MMA Rising is a website that maintains an active female fighter ranking for all weight classes and have for some time. Here's a link to their rankings as of February 1st.

Rousey is ranked 1st, Tate 4th, Carmouche 6th, and Zingano 9th.

Here are the entire Bantamweight Rankings

1. "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey (6-0-0)
2. Sarah Kaufman (15-2-0)
3. Alexis "Ally-Gator" Davis (13-5-0)
4. Miesha "Cupcake" Tate (13-3-0)
5. Sara McMann (6-0-0)
6. Liz "Girl-Rilla" Carmouche (8-2-0)
7. Shayna "The Queen of Spades" Baszler (15-8-0)
8. Sarah "The Monster" D'Alelio (7-3-0)
9. "Alpha" Cat Zingano (7-0-0)
10. Leslie "The Peacemaker" Smith (5-2-1)

#2 Kaufman is fighting #10 Smith at Invicta FC 5 on April 5th.
#3 Davis most recently submitted #7 Baszler in AN AWESOME fight at Invicta FC 4. Neither of them currently have a fight scheduled.
#5 McMann was signed by Strikeforce but her bout was cancelled. It can be assumed that she'll either be fighting for Invicta FC soon or that she's been brought into the UFC. As a silver medalist in wrestling from the 2004 Olympics she has a solid chance of keeping herself upright against Rousey if she chooses to.
#8 D'Alelio just defeated Amanda Nunes (7-3) at Invicta 4 by decision. She currently doesn't have a fight scheduled.

That's just ten women in a single division and less than half have been formally brought into the UFC fold. There are other 135lbs female fighters out there who given the chance would gladly join the UFC if the opportunity presented itself.

The aforementioned Amanda Nunes (7-3) is one.

Former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion Marloes Coenen (21-5) is another though she recently returned to 145lbs.

Tate had an awesome fight against Julie Kedzie (16-11) in Strikeforce last year. If you haven't seen that fight you owe to yourself to look it up.

Hitomi Akano is 38 years old and doesn't have the best record (18-10) but she always comes to fight.

We come to an issue though: There aren't a lot of "name" 135lbs female fighters out there. If the UFC commits to a women's division I'm sure more talent will quickly develop but that's gonna take time. So you can look to fighters one weight class above and one below to see who might attempt to join the UFC's only weight division available to women.

Featherweights (136.1-146.0 pounds):

1. Marloes "Rumina" Coenen (21-5-0)
2. Ediane "India" Gomes (10-2-0)
3. Milana Dudieva (8-1-0)
4. Julia "The Jewel" Budd (4-2-0)
5. Elaina "Beef" Maxwell (7-4-0)
6. Germaine "The Iron Lady" de Randamie (3-2-0)
7. Hiroko "Cat's Eye" Yamanaka (12-3-0, 1 ND)
8. Fiona Muxlow (6-2-0)
9. Tamikka "Boom Boom" Brents (2-0-0)
10. Ashley "Loca" Sanchez (4-3-0)


Flyweights (116.1-126.0 pounds):

1. Jessica "Evil" Eye (9-1-0)
2. Sheila "The German Tank" Gaff (10-4-1)
3. Rosi "The Surgeon" Sexton (13-2-0)
4. Barb "Little Warrior" Honchak (7-2-0)
5. Michelle "T-Cat" Ould (7-3-0, 2 NC)
6. Vanessa Porto (15-5-0)
7. Zoila "The Warrior Princess" Frausto Gurgel (12-2-0)
8. Munah "The Perfect Storm" Holland (5-2-0)
9. Tonya "Triple Threat" Evinger (11-6-0)
10. Brenda "Boom Boom" Gonzales (4-0-0)

Fighters from below might have already moved up from a smaller weight class (#7 Flyweight Zoila Gurgel) and might not have the firepower to really compete with 135lbs fighters.

Fighters from above such as #7 Featherweight Hiroko Yamanaka might simply be too large for the weight class. She is 5'11'' and already quite lean.

Cristiane "Cyborg" Justine or Santos or whatever (10-1) (1 No Contest) reportedly walks around at 170lbs and can't make 135lbs safely if she wants to have children someday.... With her manager Tito Ortiz reporting on Inside MMA that she is requesting a release from contract we may not see her ever. But I would like to believe it's just a game to get her way.

Other issues include the signings of of Bellator such as #1 Flyweight Jessica Eye. With them trying to hold onto talent like crackhead to a pipe (See Alvarez, Eddie) don't expect her to jump ship and move up in weight.

There really are some amazing female fighters competing across 5 or so divisions. I don't think there are nearly enough fighters below Atomweight (105lbs) to be taken seriously. Minimumweight or whatever you call it: 95lbs... That's just too small.

If you've been watching Invicta you have probably seen some pretty cool fights from established fighters like 105lbs (Atomweight) champion Jessica Penne (10-1) who's only loss was at 115lbs to Zolia Gurgel. She is still more of a prospect with only 11 fights but the fact she became champion in the largest women's only promotion in the United States is impressive.

There are also some great prospects you might have seen: Rose "Thug" Namajunas (AKA Pat Barry's girlfriend) (1-0) who displayed some really cool jiujitsu in her first professional fight at Invicta 4. Here's a link to her profile on including a video of her debut.

If you haven't heard of Joanne Calderwood (5-0) you owe it to yourself to look her up on youtube. She's a cute Scottish chick with sick and I mean SICK Muay Thai. She's ranked 8th in the world in professional Muay Thai at 115lbs with a record of 19-2. Click here to visit her profile on Invicta FC. Her two fights for Invicta have been posted and you can see her knee a girl to death in the liver in one fight and spend 15 minutes beating another girl down in a completely one side mauling.

I honestly hope that if the first couple years of the UFC's women's division goes well they'll start farming from smaller women's promotions such as JEWELS in Japan and Invicta FC and bringing in the fighters from the smaller weight classes.

Most women's fights I've seen are exciting and competitive.... save for a few mauls by Cyborg and a few others. It may take time for them to be accepted by even the hardcores. I'm sure I'll have more than a few people on this site who are dead against WMMA in general and it's ok because that's their cup of tea.

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