The creation of the UFC women’s featherweight division came to fruition with longtime champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino in mind. The fight promotion wanted her to compete for the inaugural women’s 145-pound title, but behind the scenes, Cyborg was pushing for a March date and turned down bout agreements for face Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie in February. She then was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation in December.
A bout between Holm and de Randamie was quickly booked to headline UFC 208 and crown the first ever women’s UFC featherweight champion. Some believe the division should have never been created, citing the lack of depth of women fighters at 145 pounds. But former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate believes that the creation of the weight class will open the flood gates of female fighters wanting to compete in the division.
“We faced the same criticism at 135 pounds. They said there wasn’t enough depth,” Tate said on UFC Tonight. “If you build it, they will come.”
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“I think bringing in the 145-pound division is great. I think it gives the opportunity for women, who are really big and struggle a little bit to make 135 pounds, such as Holly, maybe a Cat Zingano. We have Germaine,” she said.
In 2015, the use of IV to re-hydrate was banned in mixed martial arts. As a result, several fighters have moved up in weight class.
“I think with the IV ban and re-hydration, cutting weight becomes less and less something that fighters want to do. With that IV ban, I think this is a great addition to the UFC,” said Tate.
Tate retired following her UFC 205 loss to Raquel Pennington and has no plans to step back in the Octagon. But if she were to compete again, it would be in the newly created featherweight division.
“If I did (return),” she said. “145 pounds sounds a little bit more appealing.”
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