For the first time since the division's inception, Ronda Rousey is nowhere near the UFC Women's Bantamweight Division title picture.
Rousey has been nothing but destroyed over the last 14 months, and could very well never fight again. The new Champion Amanda Nunes now captains a division full of uncertainty. While just last September, many wondered if the 135 pound weight class was sustainable with Rousey running through it, there are now the same questions with a fairly new champion.
Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate have been the pillars of the UFC Women's Bantamweight ranks since the days of Strikeforce. With Tate retired and Rousey perhaps heading that way, it puts the UFC in a unique situation. One that could result in only one of the four champions in UFC history actually being a 135 pounder.
Nunes is the queen of the castle. It would appear that Julianna Pena could be poised for a title clash with Nunes if she gets past Valentina Shevchenko this month, but that's where things get really messy.
Shevchenko is more than worthy of a title shot. Unfortunately, she lost to the champion a mere 10 months ago. She was able to bounce back against Holly Holm -- the #4-ranked fighter who's moving up to 145 to face #10 Germaine De Randamie (who also lost to Nunes) for a title. Cross those two off the list.
Cat Zingano was the last woman to defeat Nunes, so it'd make sense that she'd be in line, right? Not so much. She's not won a fight, and only competed in two in the 2+ years since that went down. She lost to Pena most recently.
A good contender is Raquel Pennington. With wins over top talents like Miesha Tate, Jessica Andrade and Bethe Correia, her UFC record is 6-2, and could have been 8-0 if a couple of different judges were involved in her two split decision losses.
Liz Carmouche has a bit of a name, and has competed in high profile fights, but hasn't fought more than one time a year since 2013. If she could stay in the cage and win consistently, she could absolutely reach the top ranks of women's bantamweight again.
There are other women with consistency issues. Alexis Davis has only seen the cage twice since facing Rousey due to having a child and is 1-1 in that time. Marion Reneau has lost 2 of 3 and is 39 years old. Jessica Eye has lost four straight fights, and shouldn't be ranked. Bethe Correia is a walking wolf ticket. Leslie Smith has been knocking off prospects for years, but is a .500 fighter in the UFC.
Speaking of prospects, Irene Aldana and Katlyn Chookagian are a couple of them, and they're coming off of losses.
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