At UFC 232, there was a huge upset in the women’s featherweight division when Amanda Nunes defeated Cris Cyborg via TKO in the first round to become the first woman to hold belts simultaneously in two divisions.
With the UFC not signing women at 145-pounds, it’s hard to think that they will now that Nunes holds both belts. The only true 145-pound fighters signed are Cris Cyborg, Megan Anderson, and Leah Letson. Aside from the other women who were just moving up from bantamweight, that’s your featherweight division.
If the UFC chooses to continue and create this division, we think would be amazing for the sport and women’s MMA as well. There are a few fights we would love to see and others that have to happen in order to keep the division alive.
Moves & fights to make for the UFC featherweights
It's hard to believe that the UFC has yet to sign women at featherweight. The belt has been held by three different women, yet the division seems to have three true 145-pound fighters on its roster. Even with recruiting for the featherweight Ultimate Fighter, the UFC still hasn't built the division or made many fights in the weight class. Because of this, we wanted to explore the potential 145-pound matchups and decisions the UFC should make to get this division going and growing. It's about time.
Amanda Nunes vs Cris Cyborg 2
If anyone deserves a rematch, it's Cyborg. She's gone 13 years undefeated and destroyed they put in her path. A rematch would also do some good numbers, potentially main eventing their own card and bring in money for the company. The world would definitely tune in with the fact that the people would want see if Cyborg would be much calmer and not rush forward allowing herself to get knocked out. Unfortunately, this fight may not happen as Dana White and Nunes haven't been fond of the rematch. Recently the champ champ has made it known that if Cyborg was upset that she needed 8 months for their fight at UFC 232, she would be even more upset to know she would want two years to train for a rematch.
Megan Anderson vs Cris Cyborg
This is the fight that the world has been waiting for and it should have been the true fight for the inaugural 145-pound strap at the time. Nunes said she needs some time off, if Cyborg is ready to go then a fight against Anderson would be a true #1 contender's matchup with the winner facing Nunes upon her return. If Nunes decides to vacate the belt, then the UFC should book this fight for the undisputed belt. It's a no-brainer.
Sign featherweights from The Ultimate Fighter
While the UFC is figuring out the title picture in its women's bantamweight and featherweights, they could show their devotion to growing the division by signing some of the fighters from this past season of TUF: Heavy Hitters. Pannie Kianzad should be the first fighter they sign, who lost to Chiasson in the finale. Although coming off losses, Bea Malecki, Marciea Allen, and Julija Stoliarenko would fit right in with the division and continue to gain experience trying to climb the featherweight ladder.
Macy Chiasson vs Megan Anderson
Chiasson won the most recent women's featherweight Ultimate Fighter, however, her next bout is at bantamweight. Chiasson is needed in the 145-pound division, as there are no women currently signed. Although the division is green and Chiasson lacks experience in the Octagon, she has a quick path to a championship belt if she were to make her return to the featherweight division. A scrap with Anderson could easily be a #1 contenders matchup if the others are booked or need rest.
Amanda Nunes vs Holly Holm
Although it seems Holm is Nunes' only challenger at bantamweight, this match could also happen at featherweight. Even though Holm has a match with Aspen Ladd coming up, if she wins I think she should go up in weight and challenge The Lioness. The two have yet to fight and Holly is the only former champion left that Nunes hasn’t beaten. Either at bantamweight or featherweight, the fight is bound to happen if contenders don't rise to the occasion while Nunes reigns atop both divisions.
Megan Anderson vs Cat Zingano 2
Anderson has made it clear that she would be willing to run it back if Zingano wanted, after the awkward toe poke finish at UFC 232. This is an easy one and a fight that should happen again. We didn't get to see Zingano's power at 145-pounds or Anderson's improvements since fighting Holm. We'll have to see what's going on with Zingano's eye and if she's able to make a speedy recovery back to the Octagon.
Recruit from Bellator and Invicta FC
If the UFC wants to show its commitment to the featherweight division and truly have the best fighters in the world under their promotion, then it's time to recruit from other promotions like Bellator and Invicta FC. Aside from signing the champions, Felicia Spencer and Julia Budd, the UFC could grab the talented Sinead Kavanagh, Amanda Bell, and Talita Nogueira to help form its 145-pound women's division. From Invicta, Charmaine Tweet and Pam Sorenson would be perfect fits to add depth and experience. Adding these women to the roster, they UFC could book many matches before putting their rankings together.
Felicia Spencer vs Leah Letson
The division lacks depth, but both of these fighters have been getting better after each fight. Spencer is the current Invicta FC featherweight champion and could easily come over to the UFC similar to how Anderson did, without defending the belt. The UFC could match her up with Letson, who is coming off a win against Julia Stoliarenko at The Ultimate Fighter Finale. Letson could test her abilities against an up-and-coming star in Spencer. Either way, both women needs fights at featherweight.
Megan Anderson vs Julia Budd
If Nunes needs some time to rest and Budd is ready to vacate her Bellator featherweight championship, then this matchup could be great for the fans and the UFC's division. The winner could line up to face Amanda Nunes who is in need of challengers. With the way Budd is winning her fights, she deserves a top contender or a title shot right away. She's powerful and is a veteran of the sport, however, has lost to the champ champ in their fight encounter back in Strikeforce. That was long ago, and Budd has looked dominant as of late.
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