UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey said on a recent episode of UFC Tonight that she is thrilled that UFC President Dana White has decided to add a 115-pound women’s division.
Rousey is currently the only women’s champion in the UFC. The UFC jumped on board with women’s MMA earlier this year when it crowned Rousey its first UFC champion.
“I can’t wait for a new women’s champion and having some of the responsibilities and pressure be taken off me,” she said on the show. “I could use a little help. Rousey said that the new UFC fighters are “all super talented, charismatic and super cute. The UFC has really recognized the value the women can bring and is investing in them and thinking long-term.”
The UFC recently partnered with all-women’s league Invicta FC to bring its roster of female fighters to the UFC. The fighters will compete on the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter and the winner will become the promotion’s first strawweight champion. Carla Esparza is Invicta FC’s current 115-pound champion.
The announcement of the division signals how far White has come since the days when he said he would never promote women’s MMA in the UFC. His chief competitor at the time, however, Strikeforce, was successfully promoting WMMA and launched the careers of fighters such as Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman and Rousey.
Zuffa’s parent company eventually purchased Strikeforce and the UFC later shut the organization down. The UFC, however, brought Rousey over and crowned her as the new UFC bantamweight champion. She successfully defended her title against Liz Carmouche last February.
Rousey has served as somewhat of a Muhammad Ali for women’s MMA; she’s brought mainstream media attention to the sport and has emerged as one of the sport’s biggest stars. She hopes WMMA will live long after she leaves the sport.