With a TUF season coached by Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, a growing roster of talented fighters, and all of the media attention that’s come with it, the UFC is ready to expand its women’s MMA ambitions.
On the latest episode of The Fighter & The Kid podcast, UFC president Dana White revealed that a second women’s weight class is in the works.
“We’re actually working on bringing in another division for the women, which I said wouldn’t happen for a long time,” White said.
He added that it would most likely be the 115-pound class. No specific timetable was set, although the UFC is undoubtedly scouting for talent right now.
White added that the success of The Ultimate Fighter 18 was a big reason why the UFC wants to open its doors to more female fighters.
“The thing that’s really cool about… there’s a lot of other women’s sports that people don’t care about and people don’t follow,” White said. “On ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ right now that’s airing, the women are outrating the men. When the women fight, the ratings are up 44 percent.”
While nothing has been officially announced, we can speculate a little on who the UFC may have their eyes on.
According to the Unified Women’s Mixed Martial Arts Rankings, the #1 strawweight (116-pounds) in the world is Jessica Aguilar, a 16-4 fighter who recently signed with the WSOF. The previous #2 contender, Megumi Fujii, was recently removed from the list due to her retirement. She lost a razor thin decision to Aguilar in her final bout.
Invicta FC holds contracts for eight of the other top 10 fighters, including 9-2 Carla Esparza and 11-0 Claudia Gadelha.
A number of Japanese competitors also hold spots, fighting out of Asia’s Deep Jewels promotion, including Ayaka Hamasaki, Mizuki Inoue, and Emi Fujino.