ROUNDTABLE: What is the future of the women’s featherweight division? (Part 1)

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Dec 29, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Amanda Nunes (blue gloves) celebrates her victory over Cris Cyborg (not pictured) during UFC 232 at The Forum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

What do you think the future of the Women’s Featherweight division is now that Amanda Nunes is champion?

Cole Henry, Host – MMA Scope Podcast

In some ways, I think that Nunes winning may actually hurt the division. Nunes will now have to pull double duty and defend both belts which means that the UFC will only be tasked with finding one or maybe two challengers a year for her featherweight championship. If Cyborg was still champion its probably safe to assume that she would want to fight more often, therefore, forcing the UFC to find more contenders for her and for the division. Nunes can now return to the bantamweight division and the UFC really has no reason to worry about finding her a contender for featherweight anytime soon. The UFC will likely just bring Megan Anderson along slowly until she is ready for a shot and then from there, well we will be right back in the position that we are in now. A Champion with no clear contenders. So, I guess to clear up my point after all of that ranting, I’ll say that the future of the division is unclear. The UFC could always absorb Invicta’s featherweight division, but it seems like if that was an option it would have already been done. Or maybe they could take a more drastic approach and do away with the division all together? Time will tell what the future of the division holds but with Megan Anderson showing signs of real potential, and with Kayla Harrison coming onto the scene, it’s possible that the division will start to grow as more prominent fighters emerge and inspire.

Side note: Kayla Harrison fights are lightweight for the PFL but if she ever wants to fight in the UFC it seems likely that she would need to cut to featherweight. If the UFC is having trouble filling 145 it seems unlikely that they will add 155 for women anytime soon.

Frank Hyden, Columnist – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I think the UFC quietly puts the division in the closet and only brings it out the next time they find themselves in a bind (of their own doing) and need to put together a title fight. Then they’ll trot out a fighter who likely hasn’t fought at featherweight recently and claim she deserves a title shot for some reason and is a dangerous threat. This is assuming, of course, that they get Nunes to agree to the fight or haven’t already booked her for a bantamweight fight.
If Nunes is otherwise occupied, they’ll create a bogus interim featherweight title and throw any two random fighters who will agree to fight at 145lbs. together and call it a day. This would probably also lead to Nunes being stripped of the featherweight title. I don’t think they’ll get rid of the belt because of pride, that would be admitting they bungled this from the start. Also, they can always use the belt as a prop to try to sell pay-per-views. I think creating an interim title and stripping Nunes is the most likely scenario, but they might also let Nunes defend both belts in an attempt to promote her. Which would be a good thing in my opinion.


David McGrath, Host – MMATorch Today Podcast

The future of the women’s featherweight division is murky. I expect Cyborg and Nunes to rematch because what else is there? Nunes vs Anderson? I think Cyborg because of her dominance has earned the rematch and there will be major interest in it. That’s the immediate future. After that? I don’t know. If Nunes wins again, I expect her to continue on and defend, and not draw. If Cyborg wins, expect a big money trilogy.

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