It was only a matter of time before the UFC began a 115-lb female division. President Dana White had teased for a little while now and Invicta FC’s talent pool was just too deep to deny for too long. The only question was – how would they go about introducing these girls? That question has been answered.
“Invicta FC, the women’s mixed martial arts organization, has assigned the contracts of 11 women strawweights,” White said. “The 135-pound division has been very successful for us, the fans like it, I’m thrilled with it, and we’re going to dive into the 115-pound division now.”
The cast will feature the following females: Carla Esparza (the first and only Invicta 115-lb champion), Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, Bec Hyatt, Rose Namajunas, Juliana Lima, Tecia Torres, Joanne Calderwod, Emily Kagan, Alex Chambers, and Paige Van Zant.
White when on to say in the press conference that the 20th season of TUF will likely be coached by men. This announcement is huge news or WMMA fans everywhere. Season 18 of TUF proved that the women can not only put on more entertaining fights than the men, but that particular season showed that they wanted it more than the men. Two of the male cast members quit on the show while all eight women in the house fought tooth and nail for that six-figure contract.
These women hold a combined professional record of 64-15. Three fighters (Calderwood, Gadelha, and Torres) will all head into the house undefeated.
Check out some history between these fighters in a nutshell with additional thoughts below.
• Esparaza beat Herrig back in 2011 as a part of a XFC show. Since then they’ve been training partners and the best of friends. It’ll be very interesting if they have to fight again on the show.
• Gadelha has had issues making 115 – most recently just this past weekend when she had to drop out of a fight with Esparza – for the second time. The first time it was due to a broken nose she suffered in training. Esparza would call out Torres after Torres beat Herrig just days ago at Invicta FC 7.
• Torres holds wins over Herrig, Namajunas, and VanZant – all under the Invicta banner.
• Herrig and Pena are the only fighters on this list that never were able to score a win while with Invicta. Both women only competed once under the banner.
• Invicta FC is now left with 7 strawweights on their roster. While many will look at these as the UFC destroying Invicta’s 115 lb roster – I see at as more opportunity for more women to join the Invicta ranks with the eventual hopes of joining the UFC sometime down the road. Expect to see some big Invicta signings soon.
• The final five spots will be filled during an upcoming tryout session in Las Vegas.
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