The women’s Featherweight division is hanging on by a thread in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Amanda Nunes shook up the trajectory of two UFC divisions by retiring after her unanimous decision win over Irene Aldana at UFC 289 this past month (June 10, 2023). The departure of the legendary Brazilian has left both women’s Bantamweight and Featherweight without champions, leaving many expecting that the latter weight class will (finally) be dissolved for good. Women’s Featherweight has been a part of the promotion since Feb. 2017 and never had a full enough roster to have an official rankings list. Since Nunes’ retirement, UFC has fully removed the blank space previously resided by Nunes on the website.
One of the potentially final 145-pound fights is going down between Norma Dumont and Chelsea Chandler at UFC Vegas 77 this weekend (Sat., July 15, 2023). Should UFC go ahead and its failed experiment of a division, Dumont believes it would be a grave mistake.
“I think that if the UFC does not proceed, not continue with the division, I think it’s going to be a huge loss for the UFC,” Dumont said at UFC Vegas 77 media day (h/t MMA Junkie). “We’re taking this fight thinking that this Saturday, they’re going to see somebody who’s eager to continue, who wants to be the face of this division, and is working for it, and is going to give them reasons to be excited about actually having fights in the future.
“Also, towards the end of the year, we have a former champion of the division that’s coming back,” she continued. “I think there are reasons why they should consider this, and it would be a big loss if they decided not to go with it. They just need to have people like us that are going to show the division and what it’s capable of.”
Fortunately for most who have fought at Featherweight in UFC, they have also fought at Bantamweight and that option would be there for both Dumont (9-2) and Chandler (5-1) as well. Riding a two-fight winning streak, Dumont, 32, has made the 135-pound limit before making it to UFC but has struggled in her attempts since. The Belo Horizonte, Brazil native noted how she’s been gradually preparing for a scenario where she’ll return to Bantamweight if necessary, keeping her weight low and staying in shape for her Featherweight bouts.
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