OpEd – Why the UFC Strawweight Division Will Help Invicta

calderwood ifc6

Joanne Calderwood Courtesy Ester Lin

If you haven’t already heard, the UFC is going to add a women’s 115 division in the summer. It wasn’t really a surprise to the WMMA community, as there were ramblings this past summer a strawweight division would be the next to be added to the promotion. Recently, there was word the UFC was already scouting some talent.

With the 135ers already there, there has been some speculation if this will have an effect on Invicta due to the talent being drained and Invicta will be less relevant than when it first started. Nothing can be more wrong.

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Before we get into how the new 115 division will effect Invicta, let’s go to what we know on record about how the UFC is perusing it. UFC President Dana White went into what the plans are for the 115 division in a press scrum post fight at UFC 167 Saturday.

  • No absolute timeline on when the division will be added, but it will be in 2014
  • White and UFC owner Lorenzo Fertittas will be overseeing the addition to the division rather than UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby.
  • White thought the 125 division wasn’t “interesting”, and is why the 115 division got the nod. No fighter in particular was the reason for the strawweights to enter the UFC; just the division as a whole was interesting to him.
  • When it comes to the Ultimate Fighter, he stated he wasn’t interested in doing an all female cast to introduce them, because he feels the depth isn’t there to do it. Sound like he was open to doing a mixed cast again however.

 (You can watch the scrum here – go to 16:20 in to hear what White’s plans are for the 115 division.)

Probably the most interesting part of the scrum talks about Invicta. When asked if Zuffa planned on buying Invicta, White answered:

“We can’t just buy up all these companies and make them go away. We need them to exist. If Invicta went away…it’s an outlet for women to get fights, get experience, and get paid…it would not be good if that went away.”

Invicta lies in a position no other MMA promotion does. The all female promotion has a solid platform the UFC has definite eyes on. Most of the time male fighters have to push their resumes to the UFC and there are only so many hours in the day the UFC matchmakers can spend time looking at tapes and researching talent. Invicta is unique in the fact the country’s top WMMA talent is there already and is easy for the UFC to find talent there.

Back to the initial argument. With a drain of talent, won’t this hurt Invicta by robbing them of their top promotable fighters? In the long run, it’s actually a huge benefit.

You still have a lot of stars in Invicta including Miriam Nakamoto, Leslie Smith, Cyborg Justino, and Michelle Waterson, who won’t be leaving for the UFC anytime soon. On the flip side of the coin, we will have some open spots in Invicta that need to be filled, and a lot of rich talent looking for their skills to shine. Many people wouldn’t have known about fighters like Rose Namajunas, Joanne Calderwood, or Tecia Torres without having watched Invicta.

(Read our strawweight prospect article here.)

The UFC can only hire so many fighters as well. Many may not see success in the UFC and may return to Invicta having garnered major attention. Several stars might not be picked up right away for one reason or another. Some may just decide to stay at Invicta due to business or personal reasons.

If anything, this makes Invicta more relevant in MMA world. With the promotion’s plans for doing 10 shows next year, we could see a stronger and growing pool of bantamweights and strawweights.

We simply need to celebrate the fact Invicta has succeed in a major goal, and will still be showing some top talent on their cards.

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