Is the UFC rushing things a bit? The promotion appears to have found two new rising stars at their most recent Fight Night event, in Rochester, NY—in bantamweight Aspen Ladd, and featherweight Felicia Spencer. Ladd picked up a FOTN win over Sijara Eubanks on the prelims, one that’s seen her pushed into a headlining slot against former featherweight champion and bantamweight top contender Germaine De Randamie, this July in Sacramento.
For Spencer, her win on May 18th, over fellow former Invicta Champ Megan Anderson has gifted her with an even greater task. A bout against former UFC featherweight champion and long-time divisional queen Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino. Cyborg is coming off her first professional loss in years – since dropping her debut back in 2005 – a stunning KO upset at the hands of bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes at UFC 232. When she returns to action at UFC 240 against Spencer, it’s likely she’ll do so with something to prove.
Mix in Spencer’s inexperience – she’s had just seven fights since turning pro back in 2015 – and, to former UFC champion Miesha Tate’s way of thinking, that very likely spells disaster for the Canadian-born newcomer.
“I admire Felicia’s tenacity, you know, her ambition,” Tate said on a recent episode of her MMA Tonight podcast (transcript via MMA Mania). “I don’t see how she wins this. Prove me wrong! You know I hate to be overcritical of fighters, being a fighter myself, right? It can be very offensive, and I think the fighters are sensitive that way. But if I may speak frank here, I just don’t think she’s ready for this right now. However, she is in the 145 pound division, she is a former Invicta champion.”
Tate added that, while Spencer’s victory over Anderson was dominant and impressive, she doesn’t give a lot of credit to Anderson’s technical skills. Anderson’s “really not that good on the ground and she can’t keep people from grabbing her, so she just doesn’t have a great style to really make waves in the 145 pound division,” Tate explained.
“Against Cyborg, though, who has some serious experience, and who is going to be more motivated than ever? If I can say anything about Cyborg getting a loss: I think she is going to be looking to make a statement why she deserves that rematch. She is pissed that she’s not getting that rematch, so she’s going to take that out on Felicia Spencer. Who else is there at 145? Who else is there at 145? Really, nobody. So I guess this is the fight to make. Be careful what you wish for. If Felicia proves me wrong, I will happily eat my words right now. Saying that, I just don’t think this is a good matchup for her.”
UFC 240 takes place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on July 27th, on ESPN+ PPV. The event is scheduled to be headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Max Holloway and former lightweight champion and multiple-time title contender Frankie Edgar. A bout between featherweight top contenders Brian Ortega and Zabit Magomedsharipov has also been penciled in for the event.