The UFC had no women’s division and no plans for one. Then Ronda Rousey rose in Strikeforce, and when the UFC acquired the league, they started women’s bantamweight and named her champion. in 2015, Rousey was the largest pay per view television draw in mixed martial arts.
A number of figures have advocated for a similar process around the greatest fighter in women’s MMA – Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos. The Invicta FC featherweight champion has a contract with the UFC and twice dropped to 140, with an eye towards dropping to 135 and fighting Ronda Rousey for the belt. But Rousey lost the belt, and Santos struggled hugely to reach 140; the idea of a drop to 135 is believed to be out of reach.
So there is a strong argument to make a new women’s division at 145, and bring in the Invicta featherweight division as a starting base. However, at a recent UFC 205 media lunch, Tate said the next women’s division should be 125, not 145, and that Cyborg might yet be able to cut more.
“Maybe there’s more that can be done to help her get her weight down and make that final cut,” said Tate, as transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “I know she made 139 the fight before her last one. Those three more pounds is a lot, but I think with a proper diet that maybe it could be possible. I don’t know. I guess it really just depends.”
“Personally, I think that 145 should either be in Invicta or Cyborg should make the catchweight of 140, or go to 135. I think putting a 145 should come behind adding a 125. So, in order of preference, I think the 125 makes more sense before adding a 145. The depth at 145 is getting there, but I don’t think there are enough 145ers to make it a really quality 145-pound division yet.”
“I don’t see myself probably coming down to 125 in the near future, unless it really is appealing financially. I’ll probably just stay fat and happy at 135. … Show me the money. Show me the money and I might diet. I’ll only eat half that steak that I just ate.”
Tate fights Raquel Pennington at UFC 205 on November 12 in New York, New York. She hopes that a win there gives her a title shot at the winner of the Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes main event at UFC 207 on December 30, 2016, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. ‘Cupcake’ indicated she was game too for a fight with strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, meeting in the middle at 125 if the money is there.