Showdown Joe: The Case For And Against Women's Featherweights In UFC


After another dominating performance by Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino this past weekend, the debate continues to rage on. What should the UFC do with this remarkable fighter?

Do they continue to see if she can slowly make her way down to 135 lbs? Do they solely keep her in catchweight bouts? Do they incorporate a female featherweight division into their roster?

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It has become painfully evident that Cyborg likely has no shot making 135 lbs, the weight required for her to compete in a UFC bantamweight title bout. Heck, she likely could not make the 136 lbs non-title fight weight for the division.

This past weekend, controversy around Cyborg’s 141.5 lbs weigh-in for her bout vs. Lina Lansberg fuelled the argument that 140 lbs is simply unattainable, nor healthy long term for the UFC fighter.

Any talk of Cyborg fighting for a UFC bantamweight title are likely going to subside now. One would assume that if anyone on the 135 lbs roster is considered as a potential opponent for Cyborg, they would have to move up a division, but perhaps, not have to cut down to it.

There are a few ladies at bantamweight that could likely compete at featherweight, perhaps a more natural weight for them. For the most part, many of them would still seem small in comparison to Cyborg at 145 lbs.

Of the three aforementioned options for Cyborg, the logical choice would likely be for the UFC to introduce a women’s featherweight division with an immediate title fight with Cyborg vs. whomever they deem a viable challenger.

Off the top of my head, a few ladies I personally believe could have a good run at featherweight would be Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano, Holly Holm, Sara McMann, Sarah Kaufman, Germaine de Randamie (who has already agreed numerous times to fight Cyborg) and yes, Ronda Rousey.

But, seeing as Rousey will look to return and aim her sights on the 135 lbs title, the UFC could not just look within it’s own roster for featherweight talent, but perhaps make some offers to others who are signed to various organizations.

For starters, the vast majority of athletes on the Invicta FW roster could migrate over.

Other organizations like Bellator, would not let go of their fighters, but it would sure be great to see the likes of Alexis Dufresne, Marloes Coenen, Julia Budd, Charmaine Tweet, Arlene Blencowe and Gabrielle Holloway jump in as well.

The question is not if there are plenty of women who can compete at 145 lbs in the UFC, the question is likely the talent. But truth be told, the UFC as the Super Bowl of MMA has lost it’s luster years ago. Yes, the vast majority of the best fighters in the world compete in the octagon, but so do those who are nowhere near being title contenders or challengers as well. The organization has a plethora of prospects in every single division, many of which would likely lose at the grassroots level, let alone in the big show.

If the UFC does choose to implement a women’s featherweight division and also chooses to keep their list of signed fighters the same, jobs are going to be lost. For every female featherweight that would be added, then someone from another division would likely (eventually) get cut.

No matter which way you look at it, I believe the right thing to do is create and promote a women’s 145 lbs division in the octagon. The fights would be great. The match-ups appear endless and should Cyborg become the champ … and if Rousey recapture UFC gold, then … wait, never mind.

But come on, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t enjoy it every time one of them fought, the other calling her out before and afterwards as they sat octagon side !!!  

Or am I the only one that things that would be fantastic stuff to see?

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