The Ultimate Fighting Championship offers a total of 12 weight classes. Of those 11 weight classes, five (Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight) are exclusively for men.
Three weight classes (Bantamweight, Featherweight, and Flyweight) have both men’s and women’s divisions.
The lone weight class offered by the UFC that’s exclusively for women is the Strawweight division. In mixed martial arts, fighters who compete as Strawweights do so at a maximum weight of 115 pounds.
Speaking of women’s mixed martial arts, the Professional Fighters League made history during its 2019 competition by becoming the first MMA promotion to offer a Women’s Lightweight division.
Its first champion was Kayla Harrison, who defeated Larissa Pacheco via unanimous decision on Dec. 31 to capture the belt, the $1 million prize and improve her professional MMA record to 7-0.
ESPN’s Marc Raimondi wrote an article running on ESPN.com earlier Tuesday, wherein he outlined predictions for the UFC in 2020.
One prediction made in that article was that the UFC would add a 13th weight class in 2020, the Atomweight division. Atomweight competitors fight at a maximum weight of 105 pounds.
The only American-based MMA promotion to offer that weight class is INVICTA Fighting Championships, a womens-only promotion.
Throughout the world, Singapore-based ONE Championship, along with South Korea’s ROAD FC offer Atomweight divisions, along with Japan’s Jewels MMA promotion. (It should be noted that INVICTA and Jewels have a working relationship.)
In his article, Raimondi mentions that the Strawweight class is gaining in popularity.
He writes, in part:
“With the growing popularity of that division and women’s MMA in general, the prediction is the UFC will add another weight class: 105-pound women. The first champion will be crowned at the end of the year at the conclusion of a revamped season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Having watched past Atomweight fights as part of INVICTA FC events on UFC Fight Pass, I, too, think that it’s high time that the UFC become the fifth MMA promotion worldwide to offer the Atomweight division. These women can really fight.
I’d love to see Jinh Yu Frey (11-3), currently the INVICTA FC Atomweight champion, get a shot at a UFC championship at some point down the line.
If I’m Dana White, I seriously take a look at adding the Atomweight division before this current calendar year is out.
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