With dominant champions atop their division, who is likely to fight for the women’s strawweight, flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight divisions in 2020?
Below are six fighters who could get the call this year:
Tatiana Suarez – Strawweight
With Joanna Jedrzejczyk in Zhang Weili’s rear view mirror, it opens up the doors for potential new challengers at 115lbs. It’s evident that the winner of Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas will likely get the next title shot, however, if Andrade wins – it’s doubtful the UFC rebooks the rematch with Zhang.
Because of this potential scenario, in comes the undefeated, Tatiana Suarez. As a TUF winner, Suarez is destined to one day hold UFC gold around her waist. And whether the latter of the scenario works out or not, Suarez will without a doubt fight for the belt before 2020 is over.
She has the tools to beat Zhang, and her grappling is second to none in UFC’s most stacked women’s division.
Megan Anderson – Featherweight
Anderson got exactly what she needed this last time out at UFC Norfolk. The only issue is the one true featherweight to beat her in the UFC co-headlined the card, and also got the win.
With the featherweight division so slim, it’s hard not to look past Megan Anderson not getting a title shot this year. Especially if the UFC keeps bringing in new girls for her to welcome. If Felicia Spencer happens to pull off the upset against Amanda Nunes, then the UFC could book a rematch between Spencer and Anderson for the belt. It’s a no-brainer.
If Nunes does the expected, Anderson may have to wait and see what “The Lioness” does – defend again at 145, back down to 135, or await the birth of her baby with Nina Ansaroff. Regardless, she has massive star power and the UFC will cash in on that sooner than later.
Roxanne Modaferri – Flyweight
Roxy stopped the Maycee Barber hype train last time out, dominating the young prospect to a unanimous decision win. Modaferri has been a pioneer in the women’s division for quite some time, and if Valentina Shevchenko needs women who are going to challenge her, Roxy may just give her the challenge she yearns.
However, Valentina has a tough JoJo Calderwood in front her her next. If she gets through Calderwood, then a fight with another former title challenger might be next.
Julianna Pena – Bantamweight
Pena was supposed to fight Aspen Ladd in what could have been a title eliminator bout. As we know, Nunes is in desperate need of new challengers to her belt, but with a baby on the way it could slow things down a bit for both the 135 and 145 women’s divisions.
Julianna is a TUF winner, so it makes sense that she is at the top of the division currently. After having her baby, Pena returned by taking out the former flyweight champion, Nico Montano. Pena’s only loss in the UFC comes to currently flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko. Since, she’s been on the prowl for her first shot at championship gold, and she may just get the next shot after her next win.
Yan Xiaonan – Strawweight
Xiaonan looked scary at UFC Aukland against Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Although the fight went to a decision, Yan showed technique, power, and that she is ready for the upper echelon of the division.
Taking out a former title challenger, Yan has put herself in a comfortable spot amongst the strawweight rankings. Although she’s just shy of the top-10, Yan’s next fight should position her where she needs to be to kick off her title run. With a 10-fight win streak, if Zhang is still the title holder when Yan challenges for the belt, we could see China vs. China headline a card. And it could easily turn out to be one of those GOAT-type fights too.
Irene Aldana – Bantamweight
Aldana scored a huge win against undefeated Ketlen Viera at UFC 245. Although she has yet to step foot in the Octagon this year, she had four UFC fights in 2019 and ended the year on the best foot possible.
Representing Mexico, Irene looks to continue climbing the ranks at 135 — and her next fight will likely be her biggest. She has shown she can go the distance, is technical, and has the power to knock you out. Probably one fight away from the belt, Aldana could get a top-5 ranked opponent next and a potential former title challenger.
Keep an eye out, Mexico. You could have your first Mexican female UFC champion by the end of 2020.