With UFC 219 on Saturday night, the UFC spotlight shines on the fledgling Women’s Featherweight division, as champion Cris Cyborg defends against Holly Holm. It’s been just about a year since the division was created - let’s take a look at the numbers behind one of the UFC’s latest additions:
BEHIND THE NUMBERS: FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION
- 0 total non-title fights in the history of the Women’s Featherweight division.
- 0 women ranked in the division according to the UFC, who does not include listings at Featherweight.
- 3 total fighters the UFC officially lists as part of the division. That includes Cyborg, Megan Anderson (who is yet to compete in the UFC), and Tonya Evinger (who is unlikely to return to 145 pounds).
- 4 total fighters who have ever competed in the division. That number will not increase this weekend.
- 0 total Cyborg and Germaine de Randamie UFC Featherweight fights before their title shots.
- 0 total Evinger and Holm career Featherweight fights before their title shots.
- 9 Featherweights currently signed by Invicta who could, in theory, be brought to the UFC quickly. This includes their current champion Megan Anderson, who is already considered part of the UFC’s division.
- 12 Featherweights currently signed by Bellator, including champion Julia Budd.
Putting those numbers together does not create a pretty picture for the division. With the extremely limited number of fighters in the division, and with literally not one single fighter aside from Cyborg fully committed to the UFC Featherweight division, you have to ask - is this even a division at all? If you can’t create a top 15, much less a top 10 or even a top 5, do you have a division? The UFC could make a dent here by heavily raiding the Invicta division, but even if they took literally every Invicta Featherweight (which includes fighters with listed records of 1-2 and 0-0) there still wouldn’t be enough to fill a top 15.
In the end, this entire division is about one woman, and it always has been: Cris Cyborg. She’s the only true Featherweight in the UFC, and that doesn’t seem like it is about to change drastically. So is she enough to justify pretending an entire division exists that is pretty clearly just smoke and mirrors? Dana White and the new UFC management team are banking on it. Saturday night, they put that theory to the test.