Sunday, June 07, 2015

Analysis-Is the UFC phasing out the Women's Bantamweight division?

Ever since the UFC brought women in two years ago, there have been a few Chicken Littles who insist that women in the UFC is a short term deal despite evidence to the contrary. Of course they only look at one side of it like the number of Women's Bantamweight fights and that the UFC hasn't signed every 135lb female fighter in the world. They also complain that some fighters don't fight frequently enough. But there is a lot of behind the scenes wrangling that goes into matchmaking that we aren't aware of but I'm sure it gives Sean Shelby headaches. The other side of this is that not all unsigned fighters belong in the UFC and the Women's Bantamweight division talent level is low enough already. Of course this doesn't fit into Chicken Little's agenda. So I'm going to look at the other side of that position. For starters, most of the fighters who came over from Strikeforce have already lost to Ronda Rousey and the UFC would understandably like to avoid giving multiple title shots to any fighter. But if Miesha Tate wins over Jessica Eye in July, she will get that third shot at Ronda. None of the other former Strikeforce fighters seem to want to step up. When Ronda beats a fighter in less than a minute, who the hell wants to see a rematch with any of them? None of those rematches are marketable. And Miesha and Alexis Davis are the only ones who have recently won fights convincingly. So the UFC was hoping that they would get an influx of talent from TUF 18. But that didn't happen. The only possible title contender to come from TUF 18 is Juliana Pena and she blew out her knee and now has to work her way up the ladder. Of the other TUF 18 fighters, two were not signed, one has been released and one dropped to 115lb. So ultimately, the talent level to come from TUF 18 was disappointing. On the other hand, the talent level of the fighters from TUF 20 was a lot higher. And that's why in the short term, the Women's Strawweight division is more interesting than the Women's Bantamweight division. And that may be true for the long term because most of the Bantamweight fighters signed since TUF 18 have been disappointing. Only Jessica Eye and Marion Reneau have exceeded expectations. The others including former Invicta champ Lauren Murphy and especially the overhyped former boxing champ Holly Holm have disappointed. They need to step it up. The Chicken Littles think that signing more Bantamweight fighters will show that the UFC has committed to the division. But of the names I have seen mentioned, the only one I would like to see signed is former Cage Warriors champ Pannie Kianzad from Denmark. I don't think the UFC should sign fighters just to appease the Chicken Littles. Some could get into the UFC as late replacements but I don't think any of them are potential title contenders. I'm sure Sean Shelby is beating the bushes. It doesn't surprise me that he isn't finding much. The talent level at 135lb is low and as long as it is, there won't be an influx of 135lb fighters. It doesn't mean the UFC isn't committed to the division. The Chicken Littles need to smarten up.

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