UFC Picks Up 11 Female Fighters to Create 115-Pound Women’s Division

December 11, 2013
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Carla Esparza winsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship has been assigned the contracts of 11 female strawweight fighters for the organization, UFC President Dana White said on Wednesday.

The 115-pound women will be part of 20th season ofThe Ultimate Fighter in May 2014, White said. The season winner will be crowned the first UFC women’s strawweight champion.

“The women’s 135-pound division in the UFC has been amazing and we know there are a ton of talented women’s mixed martial artists out there,” White said in a statement. “Now, you’ll see even more great women’s bouts in the UFC with the addition of the 115-pound division. We’re excited to crown the first-ever UFC women’s strawweight champion in 2014 after a historic season of The Ultimate Fighter.”

The fighters signed thus far all came from women’s MMA organization Invicta FC, and include Invicta champion Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, Joanne Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas, Bec Hyatt, Emily Kagan, Alex Chambers, Julianna Lima, and Paige Van Zant.

The newly assigned fighters will be part of the first all-women’s season of The Ultimate Fighter. White said the remaining spots on the show will be filled with an open tryout. Coaches for the show’s 20th season have not yet been determined, but will likely be men, according to White.

The fighters in the new division will not compete before next May, White said, allowing them to be healthy for the upcoming TUF season.

(Follow @Erik_Fontanez | Photo by Esther Lin)

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  • Guest

    Finally…Felice Herrig on the big stage. Not only is she a hottie…she’s a bad ass as well. Carla Esparsa is a beast too!!! Looking forward to this division big time!!

    • Nick

      Guys….the one to watch along with Gadaelha is Tecia Torres who completely dominated Felice Herrig this past weekend.Complete MMA clinic,particularly striking.

      • JudoChopSuey

        Torres and Calderwood are the the real deal in womens fighting good luck in the UFC. I believe both women will further the sport.

  • Mark McDowall

    Sweet….Herrig and Esparsa are bad asses!! Can’t wait to see them bang it out!! And no not in that way…

  • shakejunt

    someone cue the cody mckenzie gif

  • Just Joe

    I look forward to seeing Joanne Calderwood on the big stage

  • Jay Mcgarrity

    <3 Felice Herrig
    What is this going to do to Invita though… Another organization that will funnel in their top talent to the UFC I suppose.

  • ILuvFeliceH

    I guess White is avoiding a Feather Weight Division at all cost to keep Cyborg out of the UFC. Oh well, anyway, I’m looking forward to Felice Herrig to be in the UFC, her weigh-ins are hot and spectacular! I wish she was my chick…I’ll let her tiny kitty submit me all night long! LOL

    • shakejunt

      there’s barely anyone at fw.

  • Big Tuna

    That dude cyborg shouldn’t be allowed in a women’s division

    • shakejunt

      come up with that all by yourself?

  • invected

    Invicta FC only way is down, the promotion is an all females affair and when a bunch of them is leaving at the same time, then you know they won’t survive. Given that no fighter can leave unless their contract has expired or been given permission by their current employer to he released; this proved that Invicta does not have the money to pay those fighters in order for them to uphold their contractual obligations. Oh well, every business must go with the time and the needs of their customers in order to survive. It’s time they think of a mixed affair, like most other Emma org, giving them a balance and stability, otherwise it’s good night Invicta babybaby or astalavista baby!!

    • shakejunt

      invicta could turn into a feeder. think about it. not too many prospects are gonna sign with wsof or onefc if it’s apparent that invicta is the place to get noticed and picked up by the ufc.

      • Invected

        Could be, nothing wrong with that but the point of any organization is to prosper and excel. There is a limit to being a feeder, as that will eventually lead to your own downfall if too many. I would suggest Invicta to start doing mixed events, even though they can’t afford big names male fighters. It doesn’t matter that much at this point, since they can build them up. Having a mixed events allow more in attendanceand and ppl watching at home. If anything, it may even lead to wider sponsors and mainstream, since the norm has always been the mix of two sexes since the dawn of time.

        • shakejunt

          idk yo, the appeal of invicta is that it’s all women. you add a bunch of low tier men and it just becomes another b-league.

          you say the point is to excel, but that’s not the case with invicta. shannon said it herself that the goal was to build each division and get the girls recognized. it would be hypocritical if she held them back from larger opportunities.

  • Rence

    In addition to Carla, Felice, Jojo and Bec i’m really looking forward to seeing how Rose progresses as a fighter. She’s only got one loss so far and has been just a beast in her fights. Overall this is a great thing for the UFC and these women.

    Lol besides, Rose and Pat are just the coolest MMA couple out there