UFC to launch 115-lb female division
The first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” featuring women has been so successful, the UFC is adding another female weight class, according to president Dana White.
White said on FOXSports.com’s “The Fighter & The Kid” podcast that the UFC has begun “working on” debuting a 115-pound women’s division. White has previously spoken about bringing in 115-pound men, but has been non-committal about a new division for the ladies.
“I'll give you guys something nobody knows yet. We’re actually working on bringing in another division for the women, which I said would never happen for a long time,” White told hosts Brendan Schaub and Bryan Callen. "125 pounds or 145 pounds?" Schaub asked. "Neither . . . 115 pounds," White replied.
(Dana White reveals that a 115-lb women's weight class is coming to the UFC.)
He used the word “never” when asked two years ago if women would fight in the UFC. Ronda Rousey changed his mind, and her success combined with the growing popularity of women’s MMA have seemingly assured White that they are undoubtedly here to stay.
White said that the episodes featuring women’s fights on “The Ultimate Fighter” this season have drawn 44-percent higher ratings on FOX Sports 1 than shows with men fighting. Rousey and bitter rival Miesha Tate are this season’s coaches.
Quickly, women’s fights have developed a reputation for at times being even more exciting than men’s bouts.
“I never in a million years thought that it would take off the way that it has,” White said.
Right now, the UFC has just one women’s division: bantamweight (135 pounds), where Rousey is the champion. Adding strawweight, one of the most talent-rich classes in women’s MMA, will allow the UFC to sign some of the best female fighters in the world, like Invicta FC 115-pound champion Carla Esparza, her No. 1 contender Claudia Gadelha and blonde bombshell Felice Herrig.
There’s also the possibility of the UFC inking female fighters who currently compete at 125 and 105, but are willing to move either up or down a weight class.
Rousey and Liz Carmouche debuted the 135-pound women’s division back in February and the UFC also added flyweight men (125) last year.
As White has said many times that starting smaller weight classes is crucial as the UFC continues its global expansion. Women’s straw-weight is set to be next.