While I’m all in favor of the UFC adding more women’s divisions, I selfishly would have preferred to see them add a women’s featherweight division instead of a strawweight division. Personally, my reasoning is because there would have been a better chance of Cris Cyborg, who in my opinion is the best women’s fighter on the planet right now, join the UFC as result. But in the end, I have to say that I think that introducing the strawweight division is a better idea for the time being. It’s going to create two distinct divisions and you’ll see less, if any, fighters bounce back and forth between to the two weight classes.
While the UFC has signed some of the best 115 pounders in the world, most MMA fans probably aren’t going to be very familiar with most of the roster. Of course there’s going to be some exceptions, such as Invicta champion Carla Esparza and former Bellator fighter Felice Herrig. Introducing the new 115 pound fighters through The Ultimate Fighter is a great idea because it’ll give the women some much needed exposure, just like the most recent season of TUF did for the inaugural group of women in the UFC.
But there are still some notable women who I’d love to see added to the UFC’s strawweight division. In particular, I’d like to see the UFC sign Ayaka Hamasaki and Katja Kankaanpaa at some point. Both of them currently fight for Invicta and are ranked inside the top ten according to FightMatrix.com. Hamasaki is 9-1 with her only loss coming to the undefeated and recent UFC signee Claudia Gadelha. Meanwhile, Kankaanpaa is 8-1-1 and her only loss came to another recent undefeated UFC signee in Joanne Calderwood. A young prospect who I think the UFC should keep their eye on is Mizuki Inoue. She’s only 19 years old, but she boasts a record of 7-1. In my opinion, she’d make an excellent addition to the UFC roster one day.
One person who you might have to feel bad for here is Jessica Aguilar. She’s currently recognized as the best women’s strawwieght fighter in the world, but she signed a contract with the World Series of Fighting just days before the UFC announced their plans to add a strawweight division. She’s scheduled to fight Alida Gray for the WSOF women’s strawweight championship on January 18, but I’d have to imagine that she’d rather be vying for a shot at the UFC title and the bigger paydays and opportunities that would come with it instead.
Finally, not to sound sexist at all, because I’m all in favor of women in the UFC, but I hope that the UFC holds off on adding another women’s division to their promotion for a little while after this. While I enjoy women’s MMA, I’m just not in favor of having a lot of women’s fights on cards right now until there is more parity within the divisions. I don’t dislike women’s fighting in the least because they put on exciting fights, and I even consider Alexis Davis to be one of my favorite fighters in the UFC. However, I don’t want to see fight cards littered with women’s fights until the skill level of the women increases because most women fighters are one dimensional fighters.