It’s no secret that the UFC women’s featherweight division barely exists, but if it’s up to Amanda Nunes, the weight class is here to stay until she’s no longer champion.
Nunes defended her title against Megan Anderson at UFC 259, winning by first-round submission for her second successful defense of the belt she famously captured by knocking out Cris Cyborg. Anderson was not re-signed by the UFC after this fight and she claimed the promotion was seeking to scrap the division, which officials flatly denied.
Attempts to build the division and sign fighters have been futile at best, but the champion doesn’t want to see 145 close up shop while she’s still at the top.
“Dana [White] wants to end this division, but I told him that, as long as I’m champion, I want it open,” Nunes told Combate recently (via MMA Fighting). “I think the issue with the featherweight [division] is talent. I think it’s hard to find talented girls in this division. I could be wrong, but we’re seeing that the girls that fought Cris [Cyborg] needed a little bit more. Not that they are bad athletes, but they needed some work.”
Indeed the only fighters on the UFC roster who compete at 145 lbs are Danyelle Wolf and Felicia Spencer (whom Nunes has already defeated). Wolf and Spencer are scheduled to fight later this month, but otherwise the bulk of the top talent at women’s featherweight is in Bellator.
For Nunes, she doesn’t mind if the UFC doesn’t build the division, as long as they find her title challengers.
“I’ll wait, I’m sure they will find someone,” she said. “They did that with Cris, brought in girls from God knows where to fight her. And even bantamweights will want to move up in weight so they get more comfortable. It’s better that way for me. Having an actual division or not, it doesn’t matter to me.”
In the meantime, Nunes will defend her women’s bantamweight crown against Julianna Pena at UFC 265 in August.