Nine months after hosting the first women’s mixed martial arts fight in the UFC, which took place shortly after UFC president Dana White (pictured) swore a female would “never” set foot inside of his Octagon, White has revealed the planet’s premier MMA promotion will be adding a second women’s weight class – the strawweights.
On FoxSports.com’s “The Fighter & The Kid” podcast, White said the UFC has put the wheels in motion to bring on 115-pound females.
“I”ll give you guys something nobody knows yet. We’re actually working on bringing in another division for the women, which I said would never happen for a long time,” White told hosts Brendan Schaub and Bryan Callen.
“125lbs or 145lbs?” asked Schaub.
“Neither … 115lbs,” White replied.
Ronda Rousey was anointed the UFC’s first female champion when the promotion acquired her rights from now-defunct Strikeforce. She defended her title against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 this past February and has since become arguably the UFC’s biggest crossover superstar.
In addition to Rousey’s success, White said this season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which featured women for the first time in the show’s 18-season run, has drawn 44 percent better ratings for FOX Sports 1 when the ladies fight than with men fighting.
Rousey coaching opposite bitter rival Miesha Tate has certainly helped boost ratings, as well.
“I never in a million years thought that [women’s MMA in the UFC] would take off the way that it has,” White humbly admitted.
According to various WMMA websites, Jessica Aguilar, who recently became World Series of Fighting’s first women’s athlete, is the world’s top strawweight. Invicta FC champion Carla Esparza comes in second.
In addition to simply adding 115-pounders, the UFC could look to ink the best available 105- and 125-pounders and have them adjust their weights accordingly.
No word when the UFC’s strawweight division will make its big league debut.