It's finally official. The strawweight cast of TUF 20, headed by Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez has been announced. These are the sixteen women that will compete for the first ever UFC strawweight title. Eight of the names on this list should already be familiar to you, as the UFC signed 11 women straight from Invicta to fill out their strawweight roster earlier this year. Three (Claudia Gadelha, Juliana Lima, and Paige VanZant) were unable to participate for a variety of reasons, but the rest were all pegged for TUF 20 and have been made official via the UFC on Fox Twitter account:
TUF 20 cast photo #Redwhitefight pic.twitter.com/0R8tkeXyp4— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) July 3, 2014
Here are the names from the earlier Invicta signing spree:
And the eight newly announced fighters to round out the cast (via MMAMania):
Heather Jo Clark
Obviously Calderwood, Esparza, and Torres are still the odds on favorites to win the whole thing, but the addition of former Invicta atomweight (105 lb) champion, Jessica Penne, and promising Black House fighter Justine Kish are major pickups as well. Solid veterans in Lisa Ellis, Angela Magana, and Aisling Daly should make for a really strong cast all around. All told, TUF 20 looks to be one of the deeper talent pools for a TUF season in a long, long time, and has all the potential to produce a great new champion for the organization.
TUF 20 is set to debut on September 10, 2014. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news, notes, and updates, as the season build-up progresses.